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Press Release

Federal Prosecutions Serve As Reminder to Comply With Tax Obligations As Filing Deadline Arrives

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — With the arrival of Tax Day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and IRS Criminal Investigation Division today reminded taxpayers to accurately file their returns and promptly pay any money owed.

Tax evaders face criminal charges, including potential incarceration, as well as civil penalties, and they remain responsible for all taxes and interest due, said John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.

“Taxes are how governments provide essential services,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “Tax offenses are neither victimless nor without consequence.  Our office strives to preserve the integrity of the federal tax system through vigorous enforcement of the internal revenue laws.”

“2021’s Tax Day is here, and it is important for people to have confidence that when they pay their taxes, their neighbors and co-workers are doing the same,” said IRS-CI SAC Campbell.  “If you have someone else preparing your tax return, make sure they are a reputable return preparer.  Dishonest tax professionals use a variety of methods to cheat the government.  Remember, it is your responsibility to know what is on your income tax return.  You are ultimately responsible for what gets filed with the IRS.”

Several Chicago-area defendants have recently been charged in federal court for a variety of tax violations, exemplifying the serious nature of tax offenses:

HERBERT O. MCDOWELL III, 79, of Evanston, Ill., was indicted last week on tax evasion charges for allegedly failing to pay individual and corporate income taxes.  The indictment accuses McDowell of, among other things, shielding his individual income from 2015 to 2019 by causing money to be paid to his company – United Preferred Companies of Northfield, Ill. – but spending it for his personal benefit.  Despite receiving more than $2.9 million in gross income in those years, McDowell failed to file a tax return or pay taxes on the income that he earned.  McDowell’s arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez.  The government in McDowell’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. King, Jr.

Professional tax preparer ADAM R. OLIVA, 40, of Cape Coral, Fla., and formerly of Rolling Meadows, Ill., was charged last month in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud his clients by using FDIC-insured financial institutions as a conduit to funnel more than $1 million in client funds to himself instead of the IRS.  Oliva also allegedly directed the IRS to send some of his clients’ tax refunds to himself rather than to the clients.  Oliva has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  A status hearing in federal court in Chicago is scheduled for May 12, 2022.  The government in Oliva’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Young.

YOUSEF ABU ALHAWA, 47, of Lockport, Ill., was charged this month with three counts of filing a false income tax return.  Alhawa allegedly filed false returns from 2015 to 2017.  Alhawa, who owned a grocery store in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood of Chicago, was also charged with multiple counts of wire fraud for allegedly fraudulently redeeming or causing to be redeemed benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (“WIC”).  From 2011 to 2019, Alhawa redeemed more than $10.9 million in SNAP benefits and more than $3.6 million in WIC benefits through his grocery store, the indictment states.  Alhawa has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  A status hearing in federal court in Chicago is scheduled for May 18, 2022.  The government in Alhawa’s case is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mower.

According to the IRS, taxpayers should file or request an extension of time to file and pay any taxes they owe by today’s deadline to avoid penalties and interest.  For more information, the IRS encourages taxpayers to visit the official IRS website.

Updated April 18, 2022

Oliva indictment   [PDF, ]
Financial Fraud