Federal Prosecutions Serve as Reminder to Comply with Tax Obligations as Filing Deadline Arrives
CHICAGO — Federal authorities today announced criminal prosecutions against several Chicago-area defendants for a variety of alleged tax schemes. With the arrival of Tax Day, the prosecutions serve as a reminder that individual taxpayers are responsible for the contents of their own return.
The recent prosecutions announced today include charges against a south suburban tax professional who allegedly filed a false personal income tax return, as well as a guilty plea by a west suburban general contractor who admitted willfully failing to file income tax returns for nearly a decade.
In addition to criminal penalties, including potential incarceration, tax evaders remain responsible for all taxes and interest due, as well as civil penalties.
Today is the nation’s tax deadline.
“Preserving the integrity of the federal tax system is a significant priority in our office,” said John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “Through vigorous criminal enforcement of the internal revenue laws, we will hold accountable those who attempt to cheat the system.”
“As the tax filing deadline quickly approaches, I urge all Chicago-area residents to fully comply with federal tax laws,” said Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. “If you choose to disobey these laws, please understand that you are not just hurting the government, you are hurting your neighbors and your community. IRS special agents will continue to serve the American people by aggressively pursuing tax criminals year round.”
A federal jury last week convicted JERMAINE JACKSON, 48, of Chicago, of filing 13 fraudulent federal income tax returns in the names of various trusts he created. Each of the returns sought a fraudulent tax refund based on fictitious income and withholding numbers. The IRS identified the bogus nature of a dozen of the returns, but the agency paid a refund of $900,000 on one of them. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee set sentencing for July 10, 2019. The government in Jackson’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Heinze and Patrick King.
In a criminal information filed last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged LISA LLOYD TAYLOR, 51, of Country Club Hills, with one count of willfully filing a false personal income tax return, and one count of stealing approximately $134,835 of Social Security funds. According to the charges, Taylor, who owned Ebiz Accounting Services in Country Club Hills, filed a false personal income tax return for calendar year 2012 that falsely listed gross receipts or sales from her business as $7,890, when Taylor knew that her gross receipts or sales substantially exceeded that amount. Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A status hearing is set for April 23, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood. The government in Taylor’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nani Gilkerson. The public is reminded that charges are not evidence of guilt. Taylor is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The general contractor, STEPHEN KEEFE, 47, of Downers Grove, pleaded guilty last month to multiple counts of willfully failing to file personal income tax returns. Keefe, who previously owned Downers Grove-based Stephen Keefe Construction and S. Keefe Construction, admitted in a plea agreement that he willfully failed to file income tax returns for the calendar years 2010 through 2017, despite receiving taxable income of at least $2.08 million in those years. Keefe’s conduct caused a combined tax loss to the federal and state government of approximately $379,493. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani set sentencing for June 28, 2019. The government in Keefe’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick King.
Another recent tax prosecution resulted in a term of imprisonment for a northwest suburban business executive. PETER KONOPKA, 72, of Marengo, was sentenced in December to six months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $189,837. While President of Illinois-based Solarcrete Energy Efficient Building Systems, Konopka filed a bankruptcy petition on behalf of Solarcrete that contained false statements in order to conceal corporate assets from the bankruptcy trustee. In addition, Konopka willfully failed to report personal income for the calendar year 2011 that included payments from business accounts that were used to pay off personal loans. The government in Konopka’s case was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hogan.
For tips to assist taxpayers in choosing a reputable tax professional or preparing their own taxes, visit the official IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/help-resources.