Former IRS Official Charged With Outing Whistleblower
Dennis Lerner, a former international examiner in the New York office of the IRS, has been charged by federal officials with disclosing the identity of a whistleblower.
Shortly prior to his resignation from the IRS, Lerner conducted an audit of an international bank related to approximately $1 billion in allegedly unreported income. Lerner led negotiations on behalf of the IRS that resulted in a proposed $210 million settlement between the bank and the IRS. The audit was triggered by confidential whistleblower information Lerner reviewed during the course of his employment with the IRS.
Officials allege that Lerner applied and interviewed for the position of tax director at the bank during the time that he was representing the IRS in settlement discussions. At no time did he notify the IRS of his efforts to obtain employment at the bank.
After taking the position, Lerner attempted to encourage current IRS officials to provide information regarding the audit, and to approve the settlement between the IRS and bank, despite warnings that he should not be participating in the discussions.
Federal officials alleged that Lerner divulged the identity of a whistleblower who had provided the IRS with confidential information regarding the bank that had triggered the audit to someone not employed by the IRS, and provided details regarding pending IRS audits of other companies to individuals who were not employed by the IRS.
Lerner faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
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