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$1.2 million tax fraud nets 5-year sentence for suburban woman

Updated: February 10, 2014 11:59AM



A suburban tax cheat who tricked the IRS into paying her more than $1 million in refunds was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday.

But Sharon Anzaldi, 67, of Elmwood Park, went down swinging, sending threatening letters to Chicago’s former top federal prosecutor and claiming she’s a “sovereign citizen” exempt from federal law.

Anzaldi and two co-defendants fraudulently claimed nearly $8 million in tax refunds between 2008 and 2010, and they managed to get their hands on more than $1.2 million before she was finally nabbed, prosecutors say.

Anzaldi represented herself in court, badly, as she was given 63 months behind bars by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber. Her claims to be a “sovereign” exempt from prosecution are part of a legally nonsensical movement that has caught on among desperate federal prisoners in recent years.

She wasn’t the only relative small fry in Chicago’s federal court on Wednesday for pulling off a large tax fraud.

Tax preparer Verlean Hollins, who ran “Taxes Etc.” in the 8100 block of South Burnham, pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false tax returns under a deal with prosecutors, who say she filed nearly 3,200 phony tax returns in the last four years.

The scam netted her an average fee of about $125 from each of her clients, who got back nearly $3.4 million more than they should have from the IRS, Hollins acknowledged.

Email: kjanssen@suntimes.com

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