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Ex-cop admits he dodged taxes in Wrigleyville rooftop scheme

Marc Hamid, a one-time Skybox on Sheffield executive, once tried to stop the Cubs from installing a video screen in right field. That same year, a federal grand jury accused Hamid of bilking the Cubs and local governments for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hamid's trial is underway. | File photo

A former suburban cop pleaded guilty Tuesday to dodging about $140,000 in federal taxes in connection with a fraud scheme at a Wrigleyville rooftop business.

Richard Zasiebida, 37, admitted he underreported his 2009 income to the IRS by more than $100,000, a crime that could land him in prison for as many as three years. But if Zasiebida testifies truthfully against former Skybox on Sheffield co-owner Marc Hamid, prosecutors will likely try to put him away for less than a year.

In his plea agreement, Zasiebida acknowledged he cheated the IRS out of $139,566 by underreporting the money he made between 2007 and 2011 from the ticket brokerage Just Great Seats Inc. and from an illegal sports betting operation. He made $256,643 in 2009, but he only reported $148,199.

“I knew that I needed to report that to the IRS,” Zasiebida told U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin.

Durkin said he would schedule Zasiebida’s sentencing after Hamid’s trial, which is set to begin Monday. Hamid’s co-defendant, Joseph Gurdak, is set to plead guilty Wednesday.

Zasiebida told the judge he previously worked for about six months each at the Oak Park and Crestwood police departments. More recently, he said he’s been working as a chauffeur.

Hamid was charged with four counts of mail fraud in March 2015, but he now faces additional counts of fraud and structuring bank transactions. Attorneys for Skybox on Sheffield said Hamid, a minority stakeholder, was “relieved of all duties and responsibilities” immediately after his original indictment.

That indictment said he schemed to underreport Skybox’s gross revenue to the Chicago Cubs — who were supposed to get a 17 percent cut — by about $1.5 million and that his actions resulted in the filing of false sales and amusement taxes with the state, city and county. Ultimately, the feds say Hamid ripped off the Cubs and local governments to the tune of at least $600,000.