A Mokena couple charged with using $653,500 of a $1.1 million Paycheck Protection Program loan to buy a house face a new charge of stealing from the Illinois Department of Revenue by not paying the applicable income tax on the funds they’re accused of misusing.
On Thursday, a grand jury returned an indictment against Jennifer and Joseph Wirtz that included nine charges in connection with the PPP loan fraud case. Originally, the Wirtz couple had eight charges.
Among the nine charges was a new one of theft that accused the couple of stealing from the IDR.
Jennifer and Joseph Wirtz were originally arrested Nov. 22 by the Lockport Police Department on charges that accused them of obtaining a $1.1 million PPP loan and using $653,500 of that money to buy a residence in Mokena.
Will County prosecutors alleged the couple falsely represented that the PPP loan was used only for business-related purposes for their Joliet-based company, Josco Construction Services.
The new charge alleged Jennifer and Joseph Wirtz received the $653,500 as income from the PPP loan and failed to report that income to the IDR on a 2021 individual income tax return.
The charge alleges the couple failed to pay the applicable income tax, which exceeded $10,000 but not $100,000, to the IDR.
After their arrest, the Wirtz couple’s attorneys, Chuck Bretz and Neil Patel, requested the return of bank accounts, cellphones, computers, credit cards and employee files seized in the investigation.
The attorneys requested the return of those items, otherwise it would cause “irreparable harm for which no adequate remedy at law exists.”
The attorneys said prosecutors should not be “allowed to decimate” Josco Construction Services, which 50 people rely on for their employment, while investigating and prosecuting the allegations in the case.
Judge Dave Carlson partially granted the motion.
Prosecutors have filed a complaint that seeks forfeiture of the Mokena home the Wirtz couple alleged bought with a portion of the PPP loan. The complaint is slated for a hearing Dec. 28.