Former IRS Agent Prosecuted for Bribing Marijuana Dispensary Owner

A former IRS agent, Paul G. Hurley, will face trial this week after being charged for soliciting and receiving $ 20,000 bribe from a medicinal cannabis dispensary.

Reports claim that Paul G. Hurley, right after he audited Have A Heart Compassion Care in Seattle last year, he told the owner, Ryan Kunkel, that he was indebted $290,000 on his taxes for 2013 and 2014. However, as federal prosecutors say, Hurley warned Kunkel that it could have been even worse: Hurley had saved him $1 million.

Former IRS agent prosecuted for bribing marijuana dispensary owner
As Kunkel described the situation, Hurley asked him to pay his student loan debt over time as a way to repay him for his leniency. In fear of his audit being held up, Kinkel agrees to pay $20,000 cash. Luckily, a quick talk to his security guard changed his mind. He talked to a lawyer and then reported Hurley’s actions to the U.S. Attorney’s Office where he agreed to take part of a sting operation, written in the trial brief of assistant U.S. attorneys Justin Arnold and Francis Franze-Nakamura.

Two meetings were recorded by FBI agents last September, where Kunkel handed over the cash and Hurley stuffed it in his backpack. After the second meeting Hurley was arrested. Three days later he resigned.

My recent actions have no place in the Federal Service and there is no way I could possibly write an apology to express the dissatisfaction and disgust I have within myself,” he wrote to his boss. “I have let everyone down in the Seattle office and all across the United States and have brought a cloud of shame to the Internal Revenue Service.

Hurley’s attorneys, John Henry Browne and Michael Lee, argue that the government induced Hurley into taking the money and that their client denies soliciting a bribe. Their alternative story is that Kunkel offered him an accounting job with no impact on his official duties, with a $20,000 payment.

“In the present case, the alleged bribe was not solicited or accepted until after Mr. Hurley had completed his final audit,” they wrote in a trial brief.

Former IRS agent prosecuted for bribing marijuana dispensary owner

“Thus, the Government cannot meet its burden of proof that Mr. Hurley received the alleged bribe in ‘return for being influenced in the performance of an official act.'”

The prosecutors reject the all arguments made by the defense, and stand firm that Hurley requested the money – and Kunkel agreed to pay it – last Sept. 11. The final audit paperwork was not submitted until Sept. 15, and Hurley collected the money on Sept. 16 and 21 when the meetings took place.

There is nothing in the bribery statute that requires a bribery payment be made before the official act is taken,” they wrote. “To the contrary, courts have routinely found that statute permits a conviction for bribery where the payment of the bribe is made after the official act is undertaken.

The bribery charges carry up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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