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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Prison Sentences for Tax Fraud in Central Illinois Highlight Serious Consequences for Tax Crimes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In advance of the April 15, 2019, tax filing deadline, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office, remind citizens that falsely preparing tax returns and evading taxes are crimes.

“To protect the integrity of our nation’s tax system, we work year round to investigate and prosecute individuals who violate our tax laws,” stated U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “It is our responsibility to hold accountable those who attempt to cheat the system for personal gain.”

“Taxpayers thinking about participating in fraudulent tax schemes, such as failing to report all forms of income or falsifying deductions should take a good look at the serious and detrimental consequences of taking the next step,” stated Special Agent in Charge Gabriel Grchan of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. “Those who might consider preparing false and fraudulent tax returns should be aware of the extremely negative consequences that could result in prison time and large tax bills, including substantial fines, interest and penalties.”

On April 8, 2019, the owner of Springfield’s Osaka Japanese Restaurant, Chu Chuk Cheung, pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and faces up to five years in prison when sentenced on Aug. 2. Cheung admitted that he removed funds from the Osaka business account and used the money for personal investments, and that he did not disclose the additional income from Osaka to his personal accountant. As a result, the tax returns prepared by Cheung’s accountant and filed by Cheung for 2012 and 2013 were false. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilary W. Frooman is representing the government in the prosecution.

Clifton “Ty” Robinson, of Chicago, is among defendants sentenced to prison in 2018 in central Illinois for tax fraud. Robinson was the leader of what Senior U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm described as a “remarkable conspiracy” at sentencing in November 2018. Judge Mihm ordered that Robinson serve more than eight years in prison for the scheme that claimed more than $1.8 million in refunds from false tax returns. Robinson and his co-conspirators were ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the IRS for refunds paid as a result of more than 300 false returns filed. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Darilynn Knauss, Segev Phillips, and Kate Legge represented the government in the prosecution of Robinson.

In July 2018, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough sentenced a former Springfield, Ill., business owner, Gregg Harwood, to 18 months in prison for failing to report more than $1.15 million in earnings on tax returns filed for tax years 2008, 2009, and 2010. Harwood formerly owned Thermionics, a corporation that manufactured hot / cold pain therapy products that were sold at major retailers and pharmacies across the U.S. Harwood pleaded guilty to creating multi-level entities with no legitimate business purpose, which he used to divert and disguise income from Thermionics. Harwood used the tax free income to support his personal lifestyle. At sentencing, Harwood paid the amount due to the IRS, $447,528, and $250,000 to participants in Thermionics’ employee stock ownership plan. Assistant U.S Attorney Timothy A. Bass represented the government in the prosecution of Harwood.

A Henry county, Ill., paving company owner, Tony L. Porter, was sentenced in August 2018, to nearly four years in prison for tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow ordered Porter to pay $566,571 in unpaid taxes and interest to the IRS. Porter underreported or failed to report income he received from customers of his paving business in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilary W. Frooman represented the government in the prosecution of Porter.

For help and assistance in choosing reputable tax professionals for preparing tax returns, or for assistance in preparation of individual tax returns, please visit the official IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/help-resources

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Updated April 10, 2019