A Gig Harbor man who used his home remodel to embezzle more than $200,000 worth of money, labor and materials has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.
Brent Meisner, 59, was convicted of one count of tax fraud in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, and Judge Ronald Leighton took him to task during Friday’s sentencing hearing for his “arrogance.”
“We have to do our part to uphold the tenets (of our country),” Leighton said, according to the Department of Justice. “It starts with the rule of law. This was an affront to the rule of law in many ways.”
Meisner bought a home in Gig Harbor on July 31, 2009, with the intention of remodeling it.
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He used his position as president of an Alaska Native regional economic development corporation’s contracting wing to get free labor and supplies for his remodel.
During 2009, the contractor had deals in place to restore the Evergreen Theater at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and another building at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, as well as one to make seismic upgrades to a pier at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
Meisner used his staff and six subcontractors to install a new roof and new flooring, as well as paint the inside and outside of the house and do wiring work.
Meisner had fake time cards, invoices and contracts made while ordering the real records be destroyed. He then threatened his superiors in Alaska with retribution if they outed his scheme.
“Although defendant Meisner was convicted of a tax crime and acquitted of the conspiracy, it is nonetheless true that he obviously benefited from multiple commercial bribes,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing brief.
“The alternative — the notion that these benefits were merely gifts — begs all to believe that Meisner was a wonderful person, and that subcontractors lined up to bestow upon him lavish gifts, to honor his charm and character.”
About $170,000 of income from the remodeling went unreported on his 2009 tax returns.
“Meisner was not merely a tax cheat, he was a bully, a narcissist and a white-collar gangster,” prosecutors wrote.