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May 22, 2009

LOCAL BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR BRIBING AN IRS AGENT

(HOUSTON) - Ramesh G. Khilnani, 51, a native of India and a Houston area resident,  has been sentenced to prison for attempting to bribe an IRS agent, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson anounced today.

U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. today sentenced Khilnani to 24 months in federal prison for his bribery of a public official conviction. Khilnani has been in federal custody since his arrest in October 2008 and will remain in custody to serve his sentence. 

Khilnani was convicted of bribery of a public official after pleading guilty. The charge is the result of an investigation initiated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) in February 2008 after an IRS agent reported being asked to “work” for Khilnani after an IRS audit of Khilnani’s business revealed he owed approximately $49,000 in back taxes for the tax years 2004 to 2007. The auditor, suspecting she was being offered a bribe, reported the incident to her supervisor.

TIGTA agents arranged for the recording of subsequent meetings – via telephone and in person – between the agent and Khilnani. During the course of these contacts, Khilnani offered the agent  $2,500 and delivered $2,000 in exchange for having his tax liability reduced from $49,000 to more than $500. In addition to financial compensation, Khilnani repeatedly offered the agent pizza from his restaurant as part of the deal.

The defendant is a citizen of India and has no legal status in the United States. Khilnani is subject to deportation upon completion of his prison term. 

This case was prosecuted by AUSA Sherri L. Zack.

 

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