I.R.S. Workers Are Suspended

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July 29, 2000

I.R.S. Workers Are Suspended in Bribery Case By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON he Internal Revenue Service has suspended at least eight workers in the Chicago area in a criminal investigation into bribery and other offenses, union officials and colleagues of the workers said.

The suspensions came after agents of the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration made predawn visits to the homes of at least five I.R.S. employees on June 22, urging them to cooperate with the investigation, said Charlie Turek, president of the National Treasury Employees Union local in Chicago.

Mr. Turek and lawyers familiar with the case said a federal grand jury was expected to hand up indictments, in what would be the first major corruption case brought against a group of I.R.S. workers since Congress passed the I.R.S. Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998.

"I am sure the inspector general will indict as many as he can," Mr. Turek said.

David C. Williams, the inspector general, declined comment.

Those under investigation include an appeals officer, two tax collectors and an auditor.

In one case an I.R.S. worker and a tax professional were taped discussing a $25,000 fee to fix a tax case, people who have heard the tape said.

One of the tax collectors was caught on tape agreeing to take money in return for reclassifying an overdue tax bill as currently not collectible.

While some of the taping was done by informers who agreed to wear recording devices after they were presented with evidence of their role in crimes, tape recorders were also placed at customer service counters.

As many as eight I.R.S. workers at four Chicago offices were suspended with pay three weeks ago and were told that they would be fired, colleagues said.

In addition to the workers facing criminal charges, a number of I.R.S. workers at four Chicago offices are expected to be disciplined for failing to report efforts to bribe them since the investigation began in 1998, colleagues and other people who are familiar with the case said.

The investigation also uncovered evidence that at least one I.R.S. auditor had been paid to prepare tax returns, which were signed by one of the tax professionals. Federal rules prohibit I.R.S. employees from preparing tax returns for pay.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 29, 2000


An Appeals Officer was included, eh? That's reaching pretty far up the management ladder.

-- Uncle Fred (dogboy45@bigfoot.com), July 29, 2000.

At least 8 IRS workers suspended in bribery investigation July 29, 2000 Web posted at: 9:25 PM EDT (0125 GMT)

CHICAGO (AP) -- At least eight Internal Revenue Service employees have been suspended during an investigation into whether IRS workers took bribes in exchange for helping taxpayers with such things as halting collection actions and providing transcripts of accounts, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Charlie Turek, president of the National Treasury Employees Union local in Chicago, and lawyers familiar with the case expect a federal grand jury to hand down indictments.

The paper said the workers, who are employed at four Chicago offices, were suspended with pay three weeks ago and were told they would be fired.

A message left at the union was not immediately returned Saturday. Turek does not have a home telephone listing.

Early editions of Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times cited unidentified sources close to the investigation as saying that tape recordings caught at least two employees allegedly accepting payoffs.

The Sun-Times, citing sources, reported that the employees include a customer-service representative who allegedly accepted payments of up to $50 to give preferential treatment to taxpayers or to provide transcripts of proceedings in a taxpayer's account. Confidential transcript information could enable a creditor to file a claim for someone else's refund or for a lawyer or accountant to solicit a delinquent taxpayer for business.


David C. Williams, the inspector general, declined comment to the Times on the investigation. IRS spokesman William Rivkin would neither confirm nor deny the investigation to the Sun-Times.

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 29, 2000.

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