Jacqueline Kennedy, who owned tax preparation businesses on Chicago’s South Side, was charged with 14 counts of mail and wire fraud, six counts of filing false claims for tax refunds and one count of aggravated identity theft, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release.
She and the other defendants registered about 80 fictitious employers with unemployment insurance agencies in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota, and used the shell companies to collect unemployment insurance benefits, authorities said.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security was defrauded of about $6 million, authorities said.
It’s also alleged that Kennedy was involved in a scheme to falsely claim more than $1 million in federal tax refunds, using her tax preparation companies.
Others charged along with Kennedy include Tara Cox and Rowena Pughsley, both of Blue Island; Tameka Thompson, of Park Forest; and Anise McGill, of Alsip.
According to the 60-count indictment delivered by a grand jury on Tuesday, Kennedy and some of the defendants created as many as 80 shell companies to collect unemployment benefits.
In some cases, they even made unemployment payroll tax payments on behalf of the businesses to make it appear the firms were legitimate, according to the indictment.
Information from clients of Kennedy’s tax preparation firms, including Social Security numbers, was used to file unemployment benefits claims, the government alleges.
Jay Rowell, director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, said in a statement that it wasn’t so much IDES being victimized by the alleged fraud as it was “the millions of hard-working Illinoisans and the business owners who employ them.”
“The allegations that a few individuals connived to line their pockets at the expense of others down on their luck is outrageous,” Rowell said in a statement after the indictment was announced.
Source:Chicago Sun Times