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Highland Park man pleads guilty to more than $800K in tax evasion

Sun-Times file photo

Sun-Times file photo

A north suburban man pleaded guilty Wednesday to evading more than $800,000 in state and federal income taxes over four years.

Jordan Eckerling, 52, of Highland Park, willingly failed to pay $806,999 in personal and corporate taxes for his company Pagecomm of Illinois Inc. between 2008 and 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

During this time, Eckerling was the sole shareholder and officer of Pagecomm, a company that sold cellphone services, cellphones and related equipment to multiple cellphone stores throughout Illinois and the Midwest, prosecutors said.

Eckerling admitted in a plea agreement that he attempted to hide his own income by issuing himself business checks from Pagecomm that he used for personal expenses, and by making payments directly from Pagecomm for a housekeeper at his primary residence, secondary residence and on his boat, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Eckerling also admitted to charging personal expenses to Pagecomm’s credit card account, including charges for a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico, and using gift cards given to Pagecomm in exchange for inventory for personal costs, including veterinary services for his family dog, prosecutors said.

In the plea agreement, Eckerling also said he added his wife to the payroll for Pagecomm and its successor company, PCW Holdings Inc., even though she did not work at either company and was employed elsewhere, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Eckerling admitted to adding his wife to the payroll so he could obtain health insurance for his family members under his name, to hide the fact that he was a paid employee of his own company.

Eckerling faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for the tax evasion charge, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall set his sentencing hearing for May 17.