By Steve Elliott
A Seattle-based Internal Revenue Service agent was charged on Monday with soliciting a bribe and accepting payment from a local recreational-marijuana business owner.
Paul Hurley, 42, allegedly asked for $20,000 cash from the I-502 store owner in exchange for giving lenience in a tax audit, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, reports Jessica Lee at The Seattle Times. Hurley was charged in U.S. District Court.
The owner of the marijuana store reportedly did not ask for leniency.
Hurley presented the business owner with a tax bill for 2013 and 2014 totaling more than $290,000, but claimed he had saved the businessman more than $1 million, according to prosecutors. The agent then asked for $20,000 in exchange for the "help," according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Photo of Paul Hurley: LinkedIn
Business deductions aren't allowed on federal tax returns for marijuana business, and the gross revenue is taxable because cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
The businessman contacted law enforcement, who witnessed two money exchanges between the man and the IRS agent. Hurley, who has been with the IRS since 2009, according to the news release, was arrested after the second money exchange on Monday.