Cook County officials push property tax fraud bill

May 1, 2012

Jewell Washington

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios urged state senators to pass a bill that they say would help crack down on property tax fraud Tuesday.

Berrios said there are 30,000 county fraud cases on the books.

The Erroneous Exemption Bill (HB 4148) would enforce fines against people who claim false homeowner exemptions.

The pending legislation would allow local governments to recover money back lost to fraud.

"It’s unfair for other taxpayers to have to pick up the bill when we are in such dire needs," Berrios said. "People are paying more than their fair share of the property tax system."

They also said the legislation would help bring in $50 million owed to the county.

Meantime, state Rep. Randy Ramey opposed the bill and said assessors need to be more aggressive in telling homeowners when they don’t qualify for exemptions.