Developer gets 11 years for tax evasion

SEATTLE — A federal judge has sentenced a western Washington real estate developer to 11 years in prison for making false statements and evading taxes on more than $23 million in income.

Winston Bontrager, 64, and his longtime girlfriend, Pauline Anderson, 65, were convicted in July of scheming to avoid paying $2.7 million in taxes. Both were sentenced Friday; Anderson got a little more than three years in prison.

Bontrager had already been convicted of fraud twice — once in 1983, and again in 1994, the second time for cheating the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System and the IRS out of $687,000. After he was released from prison in the late 1990s, he became involved in real estate deals to develop a Legacy Health Systems hospital and a Wal-Mart store in Vancouver, Wash.

He got rich, but prosecutors said he refused to pay his taxes or restitution. Instead, the couple put more than $10 million in foreign bank accounts, bought a luxury condo in Bellevue and a $1.2 million home in California, and amassed a $325,000 wine collection.

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