Former Bear Chris Zorich pleads guilty to tax charges

Former Bear Chris Zorich pleads guilty to tax charges
March 14, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Former Chicago Bears and Notre Dame defensive lineman Chris Zorich pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax-evasion charges on Thursday.

In response to charges levied by federal prosecutors a week earlier, Zorich, 44, admitted to U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin that he did not file income tax returns from 2006 through 2009. Convictions for each year of avoidance carry a potential sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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The charges against Zorich alleged that during the period in which he failed to file taxes, he made over $1 million in income. That sum included deferred compensation from the Chicago Bears, $3,000 in monthly rental income from his personal charity, personal appearances fees as well as wages from Notre Dame and a law firm he was employed by.

Zorich's charity--Chris Zorich Charitable Foundation--was the source of previous legal issues. Originally set up in 1993 when he was still a member of the Bears, the charity was cited in 2010 for having $350,000 in unaccounted for funds that Zorich signed a consent decree to pay back.

Last seen in the NFL in 1997, Zorich was a second round draft pick of the Bears in 1991 and played six seasons in Chicago.