CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for causing the IRS to issue more than $815,000 in fraudulent tax returns.
SHAWN P. STEWART filed eight fraudulent returns seeking more than $3.1 million in refunds, causing the IRS to issue him more than $815,000. Stewart created construction and other companies that barely did any business, and he used those businesses to create false W-2 forms that falsely listed him as earning hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in wages. The large wages allowed him to list correspondingly large federal income tax withholdings, and he used purported Schedule E losses from the businesses to greatly reduce the purported wage income and then claim entitlement to the large tax refunds.
After fraudulently receiving the money from the IRS, Stewart used it to fund a luxurious lifestyle. He purchased several BMW vehicles, a trailer for a truck, expensive dinners, and items at luxury retail stores.
Stewart, 50, of Matteson, Ill., pleaded guilty to a charge of presenting a false claim upon the United States. U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer imposed the 36-month sentence Wednesday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Justin Campbell, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
“Stewart’s tax fraud was brazen,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Didwania argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “He was stealing from funds that go to schools, soldiers, veterans, senior citizens, and others for vital services provided by our government.”