Former Chicago Bears Player And Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged Separately With Failing To File Federal Tax Returns
CHICAGO — A former Chicago Bears football player and a Cook County sheriff’s deputy who worked part-time as a collegiate and professional sports referee were charged separately today with misdemeanor federal offenses for allegedly failing to file federal income tax returns over a period of four years.
One defendant, CHRISTOPHER ZORICH, 43, of Chicago, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1991 through 1996 and for the Washington Redskins in 1997, was charged with four counts of failing to file federal income tax returns for calendar years 2006 through 2009 when he allegedly had gross income totaling more than $1 million. Through his attorney, Zorich authorized the government to disclose that he is cooperating with the Internal Revenue Service and will plead guilty to the misdemeanor charges.
The other defendant, STEPHEN R. PAMON, 61, of Elk Grove Village, a Cook County sheriff’s deputy who officiated college basketball, football, and baseball games, as well as Arena Football League games, was also charged with four counts of failing to file federal income tax returns for calendar years 2006 through 2009 when he allegedly had gross income totaling nearly $325,000.
Charging documents were filed today against both defendants in U.S. District Court. They will be arraigned separately on dates still to be determined.
According to the charges against Zorich, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1991 and from its law school in 2002. He was employed by a Chicago law firm from 2002 through 2006, and by the University of Notre Dame from 2008 through 2010. In 1993, Zorich founded and served as the executive director of the not-for-profit Chris Zorich Foundation, which was established to help disadvantaged families in the Chicago area and provide scholarships for disadvantaged students to attend Notre Dame.
The Foundation paid Zorich rental income for the use of property of approximately $3,000 per month. In 2004, the Foundation’s registration with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office was cancelled after the Foundation failed to submit an annual report for calendar year 2002, making the Foundation ineligible to solicit, receive, or hold funds in Illinois. However, the Foundation continued to receive contributions and make rental payments to Zorich during the years 2006 through 2009, despite failing to file tax forms reporting the payments to Zorich during those four years.
The charges allege that during those years, Zorich received deferred compensation from the Chicago Bears, as well as rental income from the Foundation, and income from the law firm, Notre Dame, and personal appearance fees. He allegedly received gross income of at least $331,625 in 2006; $70,996 in 2007; $372,448 in 2008; and $242,298 in 2009, but failed to file federal income tax returns for each of those years.
According to the charges against Pamon, in addition to working for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, he worked for a private security company from 2005 through 2008, and 3 from 1973 through at least 2010, he worked as a referee officiating collegiate games, including for the Big Ten Conference, and since 2000 as a referee in Arena Football League games.
The charges allege that Pamon received gross income of at least $102,657 in 2006; $87,474 in 2007; $59,082 in 2008; and $75,525 in 2009, but failed to file federal income tax returns for each of those years.
The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and James C. Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
Failure to file a federal income tax return is a federal misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine on each count. In addition, a defendant convicted of tax offenses faces mandatory costs of prosecution and remains civilly liable to the government for any and all back taxes, as well as a potential civil fraud penalty of up to 75 percent of the underpayment plus interest. If convicted, the Court must determine a reasonable sentence to be imposed under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented in both cases by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hogan.
The public is reminded that an information contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.