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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Monday, May 15, 2017

Former Defense Contractor Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud

Failed to Include Money He Embezzled from His Employer to Remodel His Personal Residence

          The former defense contractor for an Alaska company operating in the State of Washington was sentenced on Friday, May 12, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release, for filing a false tax return, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. BRENT S. MEISNER, 59, was convicted of tax fraud after a court trial. He was ordered to pay $41,706 in restitution for the taxes he failed to pay. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said MEISNER’s “arrogance” led to the crime. “We have to do our part to uphold the tenets (of our country). It starts with the rule of law. This was an affront to the rule of law in many ways.”

          According to records filed in the case, the investigation found that MEISNER and others embezzled more than $200,000 in labor, materials, overhead, and money from Doyon, Ltd., to remodel MEISNER’s Gig Harbor home. Doyon, Ltd. (Doyon) is an Alaska Native regional economic development corporation that hired MEISNER to serve as president of Doyon/Cherokee, a construction company that specialized in federal, state, and local public construction contracting. On July 31, 2009, MEISNER purchased a home in Gig Harbor, Washington, which he wanted to remodel. MEISNER, and his co-defendant, Brady Farley, and others directed Doyon/Cherokee construction workers to report to the new MEISNER home to work on the remodel. Everybody who worked on the job or delivered materials understood it to be a private job for the benefit of Mr. MEISNER.

          To pay for and simultaneously conceal the costs of MEISNER’s remodel, Farley and others falsified records, fabricated subcontracts, altered accounting records, and in some instances destroyed records. They falsified timecards, falsified invoices, and falsified bills, labelling them as expenses on government jobs rather than work performed on the MEISNER remodel. The false records made it difficult for others to detect or reconstruct what was going on. MEISNER threatened his superiors in Alaska with retaliation if they reported his conduct to federal authorities. MEISNER ultimately admitted to using company money to remodel his home, but argued he was authorized to do so. He further admitted to instructing a painter to create false invoices so he could present them to his employer.  Farley was acquitted in the bench trial.

          Evidence presented at trial showed that MEISNER failed to include roughly $170,000 in his 2009 federal individual income tax returns. MEISNER reported more than $300,000 in salary and bonuses from Doyon in his 2009 federal income tax returns, but failed to report any of the money he stole, converted, embezzled or got in the form of kickbacks. The evidence introduced by the United States and the defense established that MEISNER reported total earnings (wages and bonus) for 2009 of $332,841. MEINSER failed to report an additional $169,563 in labor and materials he received for his home remodel.

          The case was investigated by Federal agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Army CID Major Procurement Fraud Unit and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Jennings and Siddharth Velamoor.

Updated May 16, 2017