Trials & Litigation

Tax lawyer and DOJ settle suit over claimed $16M shelter scheme; suit by football players ongoing


Former NFL player Terrell Owens and others have brought a suit against Chicago tax lawyer Gary J.Stern. carrie-nelson /

A Chicago tax lawyer is apparently going to have to focus on a new area of practice and find a new job following a settlement of a civil complaint by the U.S. Department of Justice that accused him of helping professional football players and others claim $16 million in improper tax credits.

Gary J. Stern, who has been practicing at Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis, is permanently banned from preparing returns for a broad swath of clients under a Chicago federal court injunction. It was entered last week with his consent and without any admission of liability, according to the Chicago Tribune and Reuters.

Another attorney at the firm, Ronald Damashek, told Reuters that Stern will be leaving Stahl Cowen on Nov. 18, and said the consent decree concerns work done for another law firm. The DOJ complaint against Stern, which was filed Nov. 1, says Stern created and oversaw an abusive tax-shelter scheme while working for Chuhak & Tecson, which he marketed to fellow attorneys, among others.

The suit contends that Stern set up companies and partnerships to facilitate “sham transactions” generating credits from alternative energy fuel sales that were funneled to clients.

Stern and his counsel could not be reached for comment, the articles say.

Attorney Daniel Konicek of Konicek & Dillon is representing former Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton in a civil litigation brought by a number of football players against Stern, the Tribune reports. Other plaintiffs include Ray Lewis and Terrell Owens.

A press release by the DOJ and a Forbes article provide further details.

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