When scofflaws claim property tax exemptions illegally, law-abiding taxpayers pay more to make up the difference. That’s why Recorder Karen A. Yarbrough and Assessor Joe Berrios are teaming up to put some teeth into an effort to get them to pay what they owe. Before this partnership, scofflaws would face only a misdemeanor and a $75 fine.

Now, if they don’t pay up, they could face stiff monetary penalties, interest, and have a lien placed against their property, preventing them from selling or refinancing.

According to the story:

“We see it every day. All kinds of people. Whatever they can get away with, they will try to get away with it,” Yarbrough says. “It’s just simply not fair and everybody ought to care!”




To officially kick off the new phase of enforcement, Recorder Yarbrough welcomed Assessor Berrios to CCRD, and recorded a stack of liens.



“We’re at $10 million billed and collected and hopefully at the end of the year we will double that,” Berrios said.  NBC 5 Investigates was there when Berrios turned over a stack of newly-filed liens to Yarbrough. Those liens represent about $100,000 in fraudulent tax exemptions — paid for by taxpayers. “The average taxpayer in Cook County, because of these people who were stealing money, were paying an additional $75 a year,” according to Berrios.