A former Internal Revenue Service agent was convicted in U.S. District Court of taking a bribe from a Seattle medical-marijuana dispensary owner whom he had audited.
A former Internal Revenue Service agent has been convicted in U.S. District Court of two felony charges for taking a bribe from a Seattle medical-marijuana dispensary owner.
A jury convicted Paul G. Hurley, 43, of Seattle, on Friday after a two-day trial and three days of deliberation. The charges are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 13.
Hurley, an IRS agent since 2009, was assigned last summer to audit the taxes of the Have a Heart dispensary. He told dispensary owner Ryan Kunkel that he had saved him $1 million in the audit, according to prosecutors. Hurley rubbed his fingers together and suggested that Kunkel pay off his student-loan debt over time.
Kunkel agreed to pay $20,000 cash instead. He then decided to report Hurley to federal authorities and agreed to a sting operation in which he handed over marked bills in meetings at a Starbucks, recorded by FBI agents.
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Hurley was arrested getting out of Kunkel’s car after the second meeting. Hurley resigned three days later.
“I have let everyone down in the Seattle office and all across the United States and have brought a cloud of shame to the Internal Revenue Service,” he wrote in an apology to his boss.