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Suburban businessman charged with hiding income in Swiss bank

The 78-year-old owner of a north suburban cemetery monument business was charged for allegedly hiding income from the IRS in Swiss bank accounts.

Peter Troost, of Skokie, was charged late Tuesday with federal tax evasion for allegedly hiding money from the IRS in a Swiss bank account from 2007 through 2009, according to a felony information filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Troost is the owner of a strip mall in the 9800 block of Gross Point Road in Skokie and Troost Memorials, a business in the mall that designs and sells cemetery monuments and gravestones, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Troost allegedly had an account with Switzerland-based global financial services firm UBS, which in 2009 admitted it helped U.S. citizens hide accounts from the IRS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

UBS entered a deferred prosecution agreement and gave the U.S. government the identities and account information for certain U.S. customers doing cross-border banking, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Troost is the first person charged in Chicago in connection with the on-going investigation.

The criminal information claimed Troost had at least one offshore account with UBS, which managed the account from the island of Jersey in the English Channel.

Troost should have paid $212,503 in federal income tax in 2007 but evaded payment of at least $193,641 with the help of the UBS account, according to the information. He also earned interest on the account, but said on his tax returns that he did not have a foreign account or collect interest.

Taxpayers must report foreign financial accounts if the total value of the account is more than $10,000 during any time of the year, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Tax evasion carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. If convicted, Troost must pay the cost of prosecution and is liable for all back taxes, interest and penalties.

Troost also owns a strip mall in the 1800 block of Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights. The U.S. Attorney’s office points out that he is not involved with the Peter Troost Monument Company of Hillside.

Michael Lansu

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