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Channahon Village President Charged With Not Filing Tax Returns

1040 Federal Tax Return (credit: AP)

1040 Federal Tax Return (credit: AP)

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UPDATED 08/30/11 1:36 p.m.

CHANNAHON, Ill. (CBS) — The Village President of Channahon has been slapped with federal charges for failing to file federal income tax returns for four years.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Village President Joseph Cook, 45, earned $250,000 in gross income over those four years, through two public jobs and a private consulting firm.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

In addition to serving as Channahon village president, Cook also worked in the Will County engineering department, and was the sole owner of his Phase One Solutions engineering consulting firm, which he founded in 2006, prosecutors said.

But he never filed federal tax returns from 2005 through 2008, according to prosecutors. His income totaled $69,672 in 2005, $82,452 in 2006, $60,304 in 2007 and $39,066 in 2008, prosecutors said.

Cook is charged with four counts of failing to file federal tax returns, and two counts of failing to file corporate tax returns for Phase One – all misdemeanors. If convicted, Cook could be sentenced to as many as six years in prison and fined up to $600,000.

Just last week, Cook was on the defensive as the City of Chicago and the Regional Transportation Authority sued village, as well as the City of Kankakee, for hosting “sham shops,” in which companies operating in Chicago processed their sales in order to avoid Chicago’s higher taxes. Channahon and Kankakee only charge the minimum Illinois state sales tax rate.

Cook said last week that the village would aggressively defend the lawsuit, and the companies that open offices in Channahon.

“I think they’re operating within the limits of the law,” he said last week.

WBBM Newsradio is trying to reach Cook for a response to the charges.