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File | Associated Press
In this July 16, 2009, photo, Chris Zorich works with players during training camp for the Notre Dame football legends team in South Bend.

Ex-Notre Dame star Zorich faces tax charges

CHICAGO – Former Chicago Bear and Notre Dame All-American Chris Zorich was charged Thursday, accused of failing to file federal income tax returns over four years.

His attorney said Zorich would plead guilty.

Zorich, 43, faces four misdemeanor counts of not filing federal income tax returns from 2006 to 2009. Over that time, he is believed to have made more than $1 million, including income from a charity he founded.

The Chicago native was on the 1988 Notre Dame team that won a national championship. He then went on to play defensive tackle for the Bears from 1991 to 1996, and ended his career with the Washington Redskins in 1997.

Zorich has been cooperating with the Internal Revenue Service and intends to plead guilty, his Chicago-based attorney, Matthias Lydon, said. A hearing date hasn’t been set.

“He’s been looking forward to the day he could start putting this behind him,” Lydon said.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Lydon hoped Zorich would not end up behind bars but said that would be up to a judge.

The income at issue included deferred compensation from the Bears that Zorich received, as well as money from a job at his alma mater in the late 2000s and money paid to him by his namesake scholarship charity, The Chris Zorich Foundation.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, the foundation continued to receive contributions and make rental payments from 2006 to 2009 to Zorich, but it did not report them.

He allegedly received gross income of at least $331,000 in 2006, $70,000 in 2007, $372,000 in 2008 and $242,000 in 2009, but failed to file federal returns for those years.

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