Allegedly Asked Marijuana Business Owner for Money During Audit
U.S. Attorney’s Office September 21, 2015
A Revenue Agent for the Internal Revenue Service was arrested this morning after he accepted payment from a Seattle businessman after allegedly soliciting a bribe, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. PAUL G. HURLEY, 42, of Seattle, is charged with Soliciting and Agreeing to Receive a Bribe by a Public Official and two counts of Receiving a Bribe by a Public Official. HURLEY appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle this afternoon and was released on his personal recognizance. A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for October 5, 2015.
According to the criminal complaint, HURLEY has been a revenue agent with the IRS since 2009. Between July and September 2015, HURLEY was involved in the audit of the 2013 and 2014 tax returns of a Seattle marijuana business. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, no business deductions are allowed on federal tax returns and the gross revenue is taxable. HURLEY presented the owner of the marijuana business with his tax bill for both years, totaling more than $290,000. However, HURLEY told the business owner he had saved the business owner more than a million dollars. HURLEY then asked the business owner for $20,000 in cash. The business owner alerted his lawyer, who contacted law enforcement. Law enforcement observed two meetings where HURLEY accepted money delivered by the business owner. HURLEY was arrested following the second meeting this morning.
Both offenses, Soliciting and Agreeing to Receive a Bribe by a Public Official and Receiving a Bribe by a Public Official are punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Arnold.