Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– A Chicago man who allegedly helped a criminal organization run its illegal gambling activities was arrested on federal gambling and tax fraud charges, federal law enforcement officials announced. The defendant, Casey Szaflarski, acting through his Berwyn business, Amusements, Inc., was charged with conducting an illegal gambling business since 2002, along with two other men—among seven total—who were charged previously. The gambling and tax charges against Szaflarski were brought in a superseding indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed today following his arrest. The charges allege that Szaflarski failed to report more than $255,000 of business income between 2004 and 2006, and that he failed to file a federal income tax return for 2007.
Szaflarski, 52, was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in Federal Court in Chicago. He was charged with one count of conducting an illegal gambling business, three counts of filing a false federal income tax return, and one count of failing to file a federal income tax return, for a total of five counts in the 16-count superseding indictment.
The new indictment was announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Andrew L. Traver, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Federal officials commended the assistance of the Berwyn Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.
The charges against Szaflarski were brought in a superseding indictment in United States v. Polchan, et al., 08 CR 115, in which seven other defendants were indicted in May 2009 on racketeering conspiracy charges alleging eight years of criminal activity, including armed robberies and thefts, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, and arson, including the pipe-bombing of a competing Berwyn video and vending machine business in 2003. Szaflasrki was not charged in the racketeering conspiracy or arson counts. He was charged with conducting an illegal gambling business, ongoing since at least 2002, with co-defendants Michael Sarno and Mark Polchan.
Today’s indictment adds a new forfeiture allegation seeking at least $3,607,201 from Szaflarski, Sarno, and Polchan as proceeds of the alleged illegal gambling activity. The indictment results, in part, from federal search warrants that were executed at more than two dozen suburban locations, including bars and restaurants, on May 27, 2009.
The three counts of filing false federal income tax returns allege that Szaflarski failed to report the following income from his closely-held business, Amusements, Inc.:
- at least $78,417 for 2004 when he reported total income of $373,736;
- at least $82,355 for 2005 when he reported total income of $262,842;
- at least $94,593 for 2006 when he reported total income of $286,071.
The indictment further alleges that Szaflarski failed to file a federal income tax return for 2007 when he received gross income of at least $95,911.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys T. Markus Funk and Amarjeet S. Bhachu.
The counts against Szaflarski alone carry the following maximum terms of incarceration: operating an illegal gambling business—five years; filing false federal income tax returns—three years; and failing to file a federal income tax return—one year. In addition, each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, except the failing to file count, which is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $100,000. Defendants convicted of tax offenses must be assessed mandatory costs of prosecution and remain liable for any back taxes, interest, and penalties owed. If convicted, the Court must determine a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Szaflarski and the defendants charged previously are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.