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As many snickered about a measly contempt of court charge that nevertheless offered satisfying dividends by way of seeing Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis thrown behind bars, few could have known that the Big One was trailing right behind. From The Smoking Gun:

Joe Francis, the "Girls Gone Wild" founder, was indicted today on federal tax evasion charges for illegally deducting more than $20 million in phony business expenses from his 2002 and 2003 corporate tax returns. According to a two count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada, Francis, 34, sought to conceal income through the use of offshore companies and nominees.

At one point, he transferred $15 million from one offshore bank account to a California brokerage account in the name of a Cayman Islands corporation he controlled...If convicted of the federal charges, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.

The Feds couldn't be more proud of their catch, having issued a press release today touting the indictment that features the kind of overenthused P.R. phrasing usually reserved for announcements of the "C-Level Actress Loves Slipping Into the Crappy Clothing She Bought At Our Store!"-variety. To their credit, however, this is the kind of haul that only comes when various branches of law enforcement and government work in seamless harmony in pursuit of their man, though a special tip of the hat is due to the lone IRS employee who first noticed the red flag on Francis's tax return of a $5 million deduction for a subscription to Fully Clothed, Teetotaling Honor Students Quarterly Review, a periodical which turned up in none of their databases.