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Former Bears, Irish Star Zorich To Plead Guilty To Failing To File Taxes

Updated 03/07/13 - 2:12 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former Chicago Bears and Notre Dame star Chris Zorich has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of failing to file tax returns for four years.

Zorich, 43, was charged Thursday with four misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income tax returns, for the years 2006 through 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. During that time, he allegedly had an income of more than $1 million.

Federal prosecutors said Zorich was cooperating with the investigation and has agreed to plead guilty.

Zorich played for Notre Dame from 1988 to 1990, and was drafted by the Bears in 1991. He started his college career as a linebacker, but moved to defensive tackle. He played for Chicago for six seasons, before finishing with the Washington Redskins in 1997.

He went back to Notre Dame for law school, and got his law degree in 2002. He worked at a Chicago law firm from 2002 to 2006, then worked for Notre Dame from 2008 to 2010.

He also founded the Chris Zorich Foundation in 1993 to help disadvantaged families in Chicago, and provide scholarships for disadvantaged students at Notre Dame.

According to federal prosecutors, from 2006 to 2009, Zorich failed to report his income from the law firm where he worked, the deferred compensation he received from the Bears, as well as $3,000-per-month rental income the foundation paid him for use of property.

Zorich attorney Matt Lydon stressed Zorich was having income withheld over the time period in question, so the actual amount owed the IRS is $70,000 at most.

Lydon said Zorich was undergoing major emotional stress at the time, and the cousin who helped him set up his charitable foundation died, which left paperwork and organization details in limbo.

However, Lydon said there's no excuse for what happened. He said Zorich will ask for probation, which would allow him to keep working to pay off any money owed to the government.

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