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Whatcom County contractor sentenced to 2 years in prison

EVERSON, Wash. — A 64-year-old Everson man was sentenced today, May 9th, in US District Court in Seattle to 2 years in prison for failing to pay taxes, according to an announcement from US Attorney Nick Brown.

According to the announcement, between 2013 and 2019, Jay Howard Prather owned and operated Heritage General Building Contractors. He had as many as 48 employees during that time. While withholding $1,095,388 in Social Security, Medicare, federal income taxes and unemployment taxes from employee paychecks, he failed to pay the money to federal programs as required.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said Prather “was warned several times that his conduct was illegal.”

“Mr. Prather stole from his employees and continued to do so even after he was confronted by those employees and by his accountant. He simply had no respect for the law or any concern about how his actions would impact his employees in the future,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Instead, he spent money that should have gone to their Social Security and Medicare accounts on his personal luxuries: $200,000 for thoroughbred horses and more than $360,000 on three Porsche automobiles.”

In 2020 he formed a new custom cabinet company, Artisan Builders Inc. According to an affidavit from investigators, to date Prather has not paid the taxes he withheld from the two employees of that company.

Judge Coughenour imposed a restitution obligation of $1,095,388. US Attorney Nick Brown (May 9, 2023)

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