Chicago man pleads guilty in Israeli-US tax fraud ring

January 16, 2011 10:56


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CHICAGO — A Chicago man who authorities say led an Israeli-American crime ring specializing in tax fraud and money laundering has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that 64-year-old Marvin Berkowitz entered the plea Friday as part of an agreement weeks before his trial was to begin in federal court in Chicago.

Prosecutors say Berkowitz stole the identities of dead people and federal prisoners to file for tax refunds in 28 states. He fled to Jerusalem to avoid charges in a 2003 tax fraud case and was arrested there in August 2009 in operation codenamed "American Pie."

Prosecutors say the scam was worth about $54 million.

Berkowitz's son, David Berkowitz of Hollywood, California, has already pleaded guilty. Charges are pending against two other relatives.

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