Did Governor Pritzker remove toilets from an unoccupied mansion next door to his own personal residence in order to defraud taxpayers of over $300,000? Federal authorities sure seem to think so. Pritzker has been under federal investigation since October for the toilet-removal scheme, but did not initially appear to be implicated in the scandal. Adding to the intrigue is the question of whether or not the report was leaked to weaken Pritzker’s position during a critical time in his office. Here, we will discuss the actual crime of which Pritzker is being accused.
Was Pritzker Involved in the Toilet Removal?
The IRS does not necessarily care if you went out of your way to commit a crime. Indeed, many folks who never committed a crime in their lives are held accountable for text debts that are owed to the IRS. How? The IRS is not going to look for what you did or did not do. The IRS is going to look at whether or not you benefited from what was done.
Even if Pritzker had no first-hand knowledge of the toilet removal or the nefarious plot to limit his tax burden, federal investigators will claim that, because he benefited from the scheme, he should have known that it was happening. This is also how spouses are held accountable for the crimes of their husbands or wives who have hidden income from the IRS.
Wait, I am Not Allowed to Remove Toilets from My Own Property?
Well, therein lies the rub. Strictly speaking, you should be able to remove toilets from your property if you please. It is your property, after all. Right? I think we can all agree on the basic sense of that statement. However, the federal government has a different way of looking at things. They say that it is not simply a matter of removing toilets from the property, the question that needs to be answered is why the toilets were removed from the property. In this case, they must be able to show that the toilets were removed from the property for the purpose of reducing the property tax on the property.
To date, no charges have been filed against Pritzker, and it is unclear that any charges could be filed for removing toilets. Still, the stink of a scandal may jeopardize Pritzker’s tax reforms and other measures that the governor hopes to drive through the Illinois Congress.
Unlawful Removal of Toilets
The timing of the toilet removal is what makes this a problem for Pritzker. The toilets were removed just before an appraisal was done on the property. The property, which had been valued at over six million dollars, suddenly dropped to just over a million. This is largely due to the fact that, no matter how nice a mansion is, you would probably want somewhere to relieve yourself. This resulted in a more than $300,000 reduction in taxes on the property, which Pritzker offered to repay. This begs the question: How much does it cost to remove every toilet from a mansion?
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being accused of removing every toilet from a domicile in order to reduce your tax burden (or any other kind of federal fraud charge) give David Freidberg a call at (312) 560-7100 or talk to us online. We can help.
(image courtesy of Filios Sazeides)