05 / 07 / 13

Former IRS Manager Pleads Guilty to Conflict of Interest after Opening Her Own Tax & Accounting Firm

A former Internal Revenue Service agent and manager has pleaded guilty to criminal conflict of interest charges and been convicted after admitting to opening her own tax and accounting business, which earned her $70,000 on the side while working for the IRS.

Jeanne L. Gavin, 61, of Baton Rouge, La., pleaded guilty Monday before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson to exceeding authorized access to a government computer and engaging in a criminal conflict of interest. While serving as a supervisory Internal Revenue agent and group manager in the IRS's Baton Rouge office, Gavin supervised approximately 10 revenue agents responsible for determining tax liabilities and collecting taxes for individual, partnership and corporate taxpayers.

During Monday's hearing, Gavin admitted that, while working for the IRS, she engaged in a criminal conflict of interest with her IRS employment by owning and operating a private tax and accounting business that generated over $70,000. She also admitted to using her position as an IRS manager to improperly cause subordinates to access IRS databases on over 2000 occasions for the benefit of her private tax and accounting business.

"My office, together with our federal, state, and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue instances of public corruption wherever found," said U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., in a statement. "Public confidence in our governmental institutions, particularly those agencies entrusted to tax collection, is vitally important. The criminal acts of a few undermine such confidence, while overshadowing the honest efforts of the vast majority of public servants."

The office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration worked on the case with the U.S. Attorney's office, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"As our voluntary system of tax administration relies heavily upon the public's confidence in a fair tax system, IRS employees must conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and their conduct must be above reproach," said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. "Our message is loud and clear: TIGTA will vigorously investigate and recommend criminal prosecution for any IRS employee who violates the law."

Gavin faces up to two years in prison, a $200,000 fine, and one year of supervised release following imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12.

** Taken from Accounting Today article- April 30, 2013