The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a release detailing that an IRS employee at the Covington, Kentucky, IRS Service Center has been charged and arrested with improperly accessing the accounts of taxpayers.
It is alleged that the employee, John Snyder of Cincinnati, who worked in a business return function, accessed the account information of Cincinnati Reds players, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, and actors including Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Sally Field and Chevy Chase.
The charges are important to maintaining the integrity of the tax system, and are highlighted by the celebrity news aspect of the charges. The maximum sentence Mr. Snyder currently faces is up to one year in imprisonment, not more than a $250,000.00 fine, or both, and up to 1 year of supervised release.
The activities were uncovered from an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which routinely looks for suspicious accesses from employees.
As reported by Federal News Radio from an interview with IRS Spokesman Chris Kerns, over the past 10 years TIGTA special agents have investigated 4,704 cases of potential access violations. Among the “adverse personnel actions” taken in those cases, there were:
- 444 removals
- 407 suspensions
- 215 admonishments
- 139 other disciplinary actions
- 176 criminal prosecutions for unauthorized access violations
Federal News Radio reported that another 883 employees resigned from the IRS during investigations or before personnel actions could be taken.
TIGTA was established by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. Its purpose is to provide independent oversight of IRS activities.
TIGTA investigations include unauthorized access by IRS employees, attempts to bribe IRS employees, assault against IRS employees, fraud committed by IRS employees, impersonating IRS employees and improper use of IRS emblems.