'Sloppiness and mistakes': Tax fraud trial begins for Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Attorneys are painting two different pictures of Patrick Daley Thompson as the 11th Ward alderman's tax fraud trial gets underway in federal court Tuesday.

Thompson is accused of filing false tax returns for five years starting in 2013, claiming mortgage deductions for interest payments he did not make. The 52-year-old alderman is also accused of lying to bank regulators about a $110,000 loan he received from Washington Federal Savings and Loan, which failed in 2017.

"He knows that the documents he received from Washington Federal are false. He wasn't making payments and he didn't have a mortgage loan," prosecutor Brian Netols told jurors during opening statements. "He took those false documents and gave them to his accountant."

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The prosecutors began calling their first witnesses as they try to prove Thompson knowingly committed tax fraud.

However, Thompson's attorney, Chris Gair, countered in Netols' opening statement, claiming that Thompson did not commit any crime.

"It was not because of any sinister intent, not by an intent to cheat by Mr. Thompson," Gair said.

Instead, he attributed it to, "sloppiness and mistakes by Patrick Thompson."

Gair described Thomson as a man of integrity, but said, "He's always on the run, he never quite catches up, he's frazzled, he's bitten off more than he can chew."

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Gair said Thompson paid $822,000 in taxes during that five-year period and probably would not have noticed $3,000 in deductions he was not entitled to.

Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said this is really the only defense Thompson could use, and that it all comes down to whether prosecutors can prove intent.

"If you make a mistake, if any of us make a mistake on our tax returns, innocently, maybe we have to pay back a fine but we don't go to prison. If you do an intentionally, depending on the amount of money and you got a ticket to prison coming your way," Cramer said.

Prosecutors called Alicia Mandujano Tuesday. She is a Washington Federal load servicer who has plead guilty and is cooperating.

She testified she was directed by the bank president to create documents falsely stating the $110,000 loan to Thompson was a mortgage.

"No one is so slipshod in their paperwork. They are unclear whether or not they've taken out a mortgage or perhaps just a personal loan. So those components and certainly this cooperating witness, I think makes the other part of this case very strong for the prosecution," Cramer said.

Thompson has represented the 11th Ward since 2015. He is the nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley and the grandson of Richard J. Daley.
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