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Northbrook bookkeeper pleads guilty to $24M tax fraud scheme

Anthony Bell, 22, and Antonio Henderson, 31, were ordered held without bond by Judge Michael Clancy at a hearing on Thursday, April 19, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. | Sun-Times file photo

A north suburban bookkeeper pleaded guilty Monday to a tax fraud scheme that lasted over a decade and cost the federal government more than $24 million.

Barry Poticha, 73, of Northbrook, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. He worked for two Chicago-area staffing companies at the time of the fraud.

In his plea agreement, Poticha admitted to conspiring with an independent contractor to submit falsified information to the IRS on the companies’ quarterly Employment Tax Returns between 2000 and 2011, prosecutors said. He also provided false W-2 forms to employees, and when they discovered discrepancies in the forms he issued letters to conceal the fraud.

This scheme cost the federal government $24,450,609 in tax loss, according to prosecutors. Poticha also admitted to filing false personal income tax returns from 2010 to 2015, resulting in a federal loss of $341,621 and a state loss of $32,604.

Poticha’s conviction is punishable by up to five years in prison, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman set his sentencing for Aug. 14.