July 31, 2013 at 3:06 PM
Bellevue developer, girlfriend convicted in $2.7M tax scheme
A former Bellevue real estate developer and his girlfriend were convicted Wednesday of 25 counts of tax evasion and false statements for failing to report more than $23 million in income or pay more than $2.7 million in taxes.
Winston Bontrager, 64, and Pauline Anderson, 65, were convicted on all counts presented by prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Seattle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Bontrager was convicted of nine tax counts and eight counts of making false statements. Anderson was convicted of 11 tax counts.
Prosecutors detailed during the four-week jury trial how Bontrager and Anderson failed to report more than $23 million in income or pay more than $2.7 million in taxes from 2004 to 2009. More than $10 million was moved into foreign bank accounts and most of the couple’s assets were put into Anderson’s name in order to hide it from the IRS, according to prosecutors.
At the same time, the couple purchased and spent $500,000 to remodel a luxury condominium in Bellevue, and owned a $1.2 million home in Southern California. They also owned a $325,000 wine collection, a 6.7-carat diamond ring and a $186,000 Bentley and spent more than $3.4 million in credit-card purchases. Bontrager earned millions through various development deals in Vancouver, Wash., according to prosecutors.
The case was about “fraud, deceit and evasion,” prosecutors told the jury.
Bontrager was previously convicted in 1983 for bank fraud. In 1994 he was convicted for defrauding the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and the Internal Revenue Service of $687,000 and sentenced to 40 months in prison. Some of the convictions Wednesday were for his false statements surrounding his failure to pay more than $687,000 in restitution from his prior conviction.
Bontrager and Anderson were indicted in March 2012 and have been in federal custody since June of that year. They will be sentenced in November. The tax crimes carry a possible sentence of three to five years in prison and the false-statement convictions are punishable by up to five years in prison.
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