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Press Release

Internal Revenue Service Analyst Indicted

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted John Fry today for illegally disclosing information from Suspicious Activity Reports, misusing his computer, and illegally using a social security number, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and United States Department of the Treasury, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Special Agent in Charge Rod Ammari.

According to the indictment and a previously unsealed criminal complaint, Fry, 54, of San Francisco, unlawfully accessed and disclosed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and SAR information pertaining to an individual taxpayer and a company owned by the taxpayer.  Fry was an Investigative Analyst for the IRS’s law enforcement arm, the Criminal Investigation Division, in San Francisco.  In this position, Fry had access to various law enforcement databases including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Palantir, and the Integrated Data Retrieval System.  

The TIGTA investigation revealed that in May 2018, Fry logged on to FinCEN and Palantir from his work computer and conducted numerous searches related to the taxpayer who was a New York attorney.  Fry then disclosed the SAR information to an attorney based in Newport Beach, Calif.  On May 8, 2018, the attorney used a public Twitter account to circulate a dossier releasing confidential banking information related to the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s company.  The SAR information that was passed to the Los Angeles attorney was published in the Washington Post on May 8, 2018.  The Los Angeles attorney put Fry in contact with an investigative reporter in New York which led to confirmation of the confidential banking information and an interview, which was published in The New Yorker on May 16, 2018. 

The indictment charges Fry with violations of 31 U.S.C. § 5322(a), unauthorized disclosure of suspicious activity reports; 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2), misuse of a computer; and 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(8), illegal use of a social security number.  An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, for each violation.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.   

Fry was previously arraigned on a criminal complaint and released on a $50,000 bond.  Fry’s next scheduled appearance is at 9:30 a.m. on March 13, 2019, for arraignment on the indictment before the Honorable Joseph Spero, U.S. Magistrate Judge.      

Updated March 1, 2019

Public Corruption