Owner of Area Restaurant Sentenced to the Bureau of Prisons and Ordered to Pay Restitution for Crimes Related to COVID-Relief Funds
PEORIA, Ill. – A LeRoy, Illinois woman, Jill D. Little, 60, of the 400 block of West Wayne Street, has been sentenced to two years’ probation, with a condition that one year be served in home detention with electronic monitoring, for failure to file personal tax returns for the years 2015 through 2020. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $514,814 to the IRS.
An Information was filed against Little in December 2022. She waived indictment and pleaded guilty to the Information, pursuant to a written plea agreement in January 2023.
At the sentencing hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, the Court heard that Little failed to file personal tax returns and corporate returns for the business where she served as corporate secretary for the tax years 2015-2019, failed to file quarterly returns for the tax years 2015 through the third quarter of 2020, and failed to pay over to the federal government the payroll taxes collected from employees. In total, the tax loss to the government was $514,814. As of the time of sentencing, Little had paid the personal taxes and $150,000 of the corporate taxes which were due and owing. She will pay the remaining balance pursuant to a payment plan with the IRS.
In pronouncing sentence, Magistrate Judge Hawley noted that this was a serious offense and that everybody needs to pay their fair share. In rejecting Little’s statements that this was just a mistake, Magistrate Judge Hawley commented that this was more than a mistake – it involved both the personal returns and the corporate returns for not just one year but for multiple years. “You knew you had to pay, but kept not paying, and you got caught.”
The statutory penalties for failure to file a tax return are not more than 1 year imprisonment and up to a $100,000 fine. Failure to file a tax return is a Class A misdemeanor.
The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Criminal Chief Darilynn J. Knauss represented the government in the prosecution.