Former IRS Manager Sentenced on Conflict of Interest Charges for Running Her Own Tax Business

A former Internal Revenue Service manager has been sentenced to a year in prison after she was convicted of accessing IRS computers on behalf of a tax business that she operated on the side.

Jeanne L. Gavin, 62, was sentenced Thursday in a Louisiana federal court to 12 months in prison, followed by 12 months of supervised release, along with a $20,000 fine. The sentence stems from Gavin’s convictions on charges of exceeding authorized access to a government computer, and engaging in a criminal conflict of interest.

While serving as a supervisory Internal Revenue agent and group manager in the Baton Rouge, La., office of the IRS, Gavin supervised about 10 revenue agents who were responsible for determining federal tax liability and collecting taxes.

Gavin admitted that, while working for the IRS, she engaged in a criminal conflict of interest with her IRS employment by owning and operating a private tax and accounting business that generated over $70,000 (see Former IRS Manager Pleads Guilty to Conflict of Interest after Opening Her Own Tax and Accounting Firm). She also admitted to using her position to improperly cause her subordinates to access IRS databases on over 2,000 occasions for the benefit of her private tax and accounting business.

Gavin worked for 34 years at the IRS. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson admonished her at the sentencing, saying, “I think you compromised the public’s trust in the IRS,” according to The Advocate, a local Baton Rouge news outlet.

The prosecutor pointed out that Gavin had defrauded her subordinates by leading them to believe they were accessing tax records for official IRS business, as opposed to doing work on 70 of Gavin’s own tax clients.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration worked with Acting U.S. Attorney Walt Green’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the case. “As our voluntary system of tax administration relies heavily upon the public’s confidence in a fair tax system, IRS employees must conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and their conduct must be above reproach,” TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George said in a statement. “Our message is loud and clear: TIGTA will vigorously investigate and recommend criminal prosecution for any IRS employee who violates the law.”

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