Gig Harbor Man, Once CEO of Region's Largest Electronics Recycler, Sentenced for Tax Fraud

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A Gig Harbor man who was formerly the owner and co-CEO of the Northwest's largest electronic waste recycling firm was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court for using company funds to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses and failing to report the transactions on his income tax returns.

Jeffrey Zirkle, 58, will spend six months in prison for the tax fraud, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Nick Brown announced.

"Those who fail to pay their taxes are not just cheating the government, they are also stealing from taxpayers who are following the rules," Brown said in a news release. "But despite earning nearly $1 million a year in salary, Mr. Zirkle refused to pay his fair share."

Zirkle pleaded guilty in October to filing false tax returns from 2008 to 2017.

The sentencing is the second time Zirkle will face prison time for his actions as co-CEO of Total Reclaim. In 2019, he was sentenced to two years, four months in prison for defrauding clients by secretly exporting electronic waste to Hong Kong while presenting his business as an environmentally-friendly recycling service.

Following Zirkle's prosecution, the company's new CEO discovered Zirkle had embezzled from the company by charging as much as $480,000 in personal expenses on company credit cards. According to the release, the defendant and Total Reclaim negotiated a settlement regarding the expenses.

An FBI and IRS investigation determined Zirkle never reported the payments on his income tax returns. As part of his sentence, Zirkle was ordered to pay $125,549 in restitution to the government.

"He's been defrauding the company and defrauding the government for years ... he has no respect for the law whatsoever," U.S. District Judge James Robart said at Zirkle's sentencing.

According to the release, many of the purchases were for luxury goods: more than $4,000 spent at Louis Vuitton in Las Vegas, over $15,000 for partial payment of a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle muscle car and a $4,000 down payment on a motocross bike.

Zirkle also spent more than $17,000 in a single day to purchase home appliances with corporate funds. He also spent over $15,000 on a home irrigation system.