The offenses are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
A Seattle agent with the Internal Revenue Service was charged Monday with soliciting a bribe and accepting payment from a local marijuana business owner.
Paul Hurley, 42, was charged in U.S. District Court after he allegedly asked for $20,000 cash from the store owner in exchange for giving lenience in a tax audit, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorneys Office.
The pot-shop owner reportedly did not ask for leniency.
Prosecutors say in the release Hurley presented the business owner a tax bill for 2013 and 2014 that totaled more than $290,000 but reported that he had saved the businessman more than $1 million. The agent then asked for $20,000 in exchange for the help, the news release says.
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No business deductions on marijuana are allowed on federal tax returns, and the gross revenue is taxable because it’s illegal under federal law.
The businessman contacted authorities, who twice witnessed a money exchange between the man and the agent. Hurley was arrested after the second exchange on Monday.
Hurley has been an IRS revenue agent since 2009, according to the release.
He’s charged with a total of three counts of soliciting and agreeing to receive a bribe by a public official. The offenses are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hurley appeared in court Monday and was released on his own recognizance pending future hearings. The FBI and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration are investigating.