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Bellevue Developer, Girlfriend Guilty in $2.7M Tax Evasion

Former Bellevue developer Winston Bontrager and his girlfriend Pauline Anderson were convicted Wednesday of 25 counts of tax evasion failing to pay $2.7 million in taxes in U.S. District Court.

Winston Bontrager, left, and his girlfriend, Pauline Anderson were convicted July 31, 2013 of 25 counts of tax evasion, avoiding $2.7 million in taxes. Photo courtesy the U.S. Department of Justice.
Winston Bontrager, left, and his girlfriend, Pauline Anderson were convicted July 31, 2013 of 25 counts of tax evasion, avoiding $2.7 million in taxes. Photo courtesy the U.S. Department of Justice.
Winston Bontrager, a former developer, and his girlfriend Pauline Anderson were convicted Wednesday of 25 counts of tax evasion failing to pay $2.7 million in taxes in U.S. District Court, while they acquired a high-end condo in Bellevue, luxury cars, and cosmetic procedures, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Bontrager, 64, and Anderson, 65, were indicted in March 2012, and have been in federal custody since June 2012.  

The couple were accused of filing false tax returns from 2004-09, failing to report more than $23 million in income and failing to pay more than $2.7 million in taxes.

Prosecutors said that the couple hid $10 million by moving it into Anderson's foreign bank accounts. Anderson held most of the couple's assets in an effort to hide it from the IRS and to avoid paying Bontrager's restitution in previous convictions for tax evasion and defrauding the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.

Prosecutors said that during the time that the couple were hiding the assets, the couple acquired and remodeled a Bellevue condo, a project that cost $1.2 million, a $325,000 wine collection, a $1.2 million home in Southern California, a 6.7 carat diamond ring, a Bentley worth $186,000, and they spent over $3.4 million in credit card purchases, including travel, cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, restaurants, and clothing and shoes.  

The jury deliberated about three days following a four week long jury trial. 

Jurors convicted the two on all counts presented by prosecutors, according to a press release from the office. U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones scheduled sentencing for Nov. 22, 2013.        

It was Bontrager's third federal conviction. In 1983, he was found guilty of bank fraud and in 1994, he was convicted of defrauding the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and the IRS of over $687,000. Some of Bontrager's most recent conviction were related to false statement in paying that restitution, according to the prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that Bontrager made millions of dollars on development deals in Vancouver, and in some cases defrauded business partners as well as the IRS.

The tax crimes of conviction are each punishable by between three to five years in prison, and the false statement convictions are also punishable by up to five years in prison. 

Bontrager was found guilty of nine tax counts and eight counts of making false statements. Anderson was found guilty of 11 tax counts.

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