IRS Revenue Officer Pleads Guilty in Fraudulent Tax Scheme

IRS Employee Served as “Man on the Inside”

September 8, 2010

Greenbelt, Maryland - Former IRS revenue officer Mark E. Hunt, age 45, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty today to unlawfully accessing 12 taxpayer accounts at the IRS, which furthered a fraudulent tax scheme.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division; and Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“To maintain faith in our nation's tax system, honest taxpayers need to be reassured that everyone is being held accountable for tax violations,” stated Rebecca Sparkman, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Washington DC Field Office. “No one is above the law and today's plea is a costly reminder.”

According to Hunt’s guilty plea, from March 1999 to May 2004, while he was an IRS revenue officer, Hunt wore IRS identification and was introduced as the “man on the inside” at meetings between the owner of a tax preparation service and potential clients or investors. At the owner’s request, Hunt accessed 12 of the clients’ IRS accounts to obtain confidential information that the owner needed to further his businesses. In so doing, Hunt entered the IRS databases 24 times in order to illegally navigate the stored data and retrieve confidential taxpayer information.

When interviewed by the IRS on October 30, 2008, Hunt initially denied knowing the owner and denied that he provided the owner with unauthorized disclosures of tax return information. However, later in the interview, Hunt admitted that the owner paid him on 10 to 12 occasions to provide the taxpayer information. Hunt also admitted that he knew he played the role of a “prop” at the investors’ meetings and that the taxpayer information he provided helped the owner demonstrate to his clients that he had someone on the inside at the IRS.

Hunt faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making unauthorized disclosure of information. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus scheduled sentencing for January 24, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Gregory R. Bockin and Trial Attorney Shawn T. Noud of the Department of Justice Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

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