A Tri-City businessman was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail for lying on his state tax return, saying his company didn't make any money, even while he continued to build homes.
Vasilly Petrovich Sinyuk, 29, can do the time on work release if eligible, Judge Craig Matheson said.
Sinyuk must report to the Benton County jail by April 18. A status hearing is set April 25 to make sure he is serving the sentence.
The homebuilder entered an Alford plea in Benton County Superior Court to one count of filing a false or fraudulent tax return. The Alford plea means he denied committing the crime but believed prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
He initially was charged with felony theft of sales taxes and four counts of filing false state tax returns. The plea agreement was for one felony charge.
"You won't see me here again," Sinyuk said in court.
"I'm sure I won't because you responded to this in a way that indicates you're not going to be in trouble again, by paying the fines and taking care of it," Matheson said.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow told the court that Sinyuk paid the full restitution of $13,365.33. That covers taxes, penalties and interest associated with building a custom home, even though Sinyuk filed a return stating he did no business, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue.
Sinyuk has done business under several Kennewick construction company names since 2001, including Sinyuk Construction, LLC and Tri-Cities Dream Homes.
After his company closed in 2009 following his tax troubles with the Department of Revenue, he went on to build a home in Richland under the guise of VNS Construction. The corporation solely is owned by Sinyuk's brother, Vladimir Sinyuk, but Vasilly Sinyuk said he and his brother were partners.
Sinyuk took out the building permit and payments were made to Sinyuk Construction, a department spokesman said.
Sinyuk Construction was the largest tax delinquent in Eastern Washington when the charges were filed last August by the Economic Crime Unit of the Washington state Attorney General's Office. The charges were at the request of the Department of Revenue.
"What we seek through these and other prosecutions is to ensure that all businesses operate by the same rules," Revenue Director Brad Flaherty said in a news release. "Nobody should be able to undercut honest businesses by operating under the table."
The theft allegations against Sinyuk were for collecting and pocketing sales taxes on his projects or just not collecting the taxes. Those sales taxes are supposed to go into trust funds, which then will benefit the customer in state and local services.
Court documents show S nyuk had a series of issues with the department between 2001 and 2010. His general contractor's bond expired in December 2009, but the next month he signed a contract to build a custom home in Richland.
In March 2010, he changed his business name and obtained a new general contractor's license and bond effective the same date under the new name, documents said.
From March to November 2010, Sinyuk reported his company had no business income and filed no tax returns with the Revenue Department, but officials say a review of his bank accounts and draws against a construction loan showed Sinyuk received $192,863 during the same time.
The Department of Revenue in 2010 filed civil tax warrants against Sinyuk Construction for tax, penalties and interest totaling $419,165 for liability incurred over four years before the criminal case. Those warrants apparently remain outstanding.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com