IRS Official Arrested on Federal Bribery Charge for Allegedly Taking $5,000 in Cash to Reduce a Taxpayer’s Debt to the Tax Agency
SANTA ANA, California – An Internal Revenue Service official was arrested this morning for allegedly soliciting and accepting a $5,000 bribe to reduce the tax liability of a taxpayer who was under audit.
Felecia Edna Taylor, 50, a resident of the Florence neighborhood in South Los Angeles, was arrested at the IRS office in Long Beach after being named in a one-count criminal complaint that charges her with solicitation and receipt of a bribe by a public official.
Taylor is making her initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Taylor, who has been employed at the IRS since 1990, works as a tax compliance officer in Long Beach, where she plans and conducts examinations of individual and business taxpayers. On May 1, a taxpayer contacted law enforcement, and stated that, at a meeting two days earlier, Taylor was “inviting a bribe” in exchange for lowering the amount owed to the IRS to $10,000, according to court documents. The taxpayer was supposed to pay the bribe to Taylor on May 7 at her Long Beach office, court papers state.
The taxpayer met with law enforcement on Tuesday, was equipped with recording devices, and was given $5,000 in cash to give to Taylor, the affidavit states. According to a recording of that meeting, Taylor provided adjusted tax records to show a reduction of the taxpayer’s liability to $10,616 as agreed and, in response, the taxpayer handed Taylor an envelope containing $5,000 in cash. Taylor allegedly took the envelope in one hand, mouthed the word, “Five?” and placed five fingers in the air to non-verbally confirm the amount of cash the taxpayer had just given her. When the taxpayer replied, “Yes, what we agreed on, yep it’s all there,” Taylor placed the envelope on her desk and stated, “We are all done,” the affidavit states.
If convicted of the bribery charge, Taylor would face a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Waier of the Santa Ana Branch Office.