Former IRS Official Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Violating Conflict Of Interest Law And Illegally Disclosing Audit Information
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DENNIS LERNER, a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), pled guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court to violating a criminal conflict of interest law and to illegally disclosing confidential audit information during the time he was an IRS employee. LERNER was arrested in September 2012. He pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Dennis Lerner betrayed the trust put in him as a public servant by parlaying his position at the IRS into a high-powered job at a bank he was auditing through a scheme that may now land him in prison. We will not tolerate corrupt government employees and will prosecute and punish them to the full extent of the law.”
According to the allegations in the Criminal Complaint and the Criminal Information, along with statements made during today’s plea proceeding in Manhattan federal court:
From June 2010 through August 2011, LERNER worked as an International Examiner in the New York office of the IRS. For several months leading up to his resignation from the IRS, one of his chief responsibilities involved conducting an audit of an international bank (“Bank 1”) related to approximately $1 billion in allegedly unreported income. Shortly before his resignation, LERNER led negotiations on behalf of the IRS which resulted in a proposed $210 million settlement between Bank 1 and the IRS. The settlement was still pending final approval at the time of his departure. Unbeknownst to his colleagues and supervisors, LERNER applied for, interviewed for, and accepted the position of Tax Director at Bank 1 during the time period in which he was representing the IRS in the Bank 1 settlement discussions. He also sent multiple emails to an individual in which he expressed both his dissatisfaction with his job at the IRS and his hope that he would secure the Bank 1 job. At no time did he notify the IRS of his efforts to obtain employment with Bank 1.
LERNER also engaged in improper disclosure of IRS tax return information during the time period that he worked as an IRS International Examiner. Specifically, he revealed the identity of a bank he was auditing to an individual who was not employed by the IRS.
LERNER, 60, of Edgewater, New Jersey, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Keenan on July 11, 2013 at 11 a.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which included the assistance and cooperation of IRS management.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Randall W. Jackson is in charge of the prosecution.