A Seattle-based Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent who bribed a medical marijuana dispensary owner will be spending a lot of time behind bars.
Then-IRS agent Paul Hurley was randomly auditing Have a Heart Compassion Care, Inc. in the summer of 2015 when he claimed he had “saved the owner millions” during the audit, and asked the owner for $20,000, according to the Department of Justice.
Hurley told the unnamed business proprietor he was living paycheck to paycheck, and needed cash to pay off his student loans. The owner and his lawyer contacted the FBI, and worked with law enforcement to record future conversations with Hurley and film the money changing hands.
A jury convicted Hurley Friday of receiving a bribe as a public official, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced May 13. Hurley joined the IRS in 2009.
The criminal complaint against Hurley said the medical marijuana dispensary owner offered Hurley cannabis lotion for the agent’s back pain, and purchased tobacco for Hurley without the government official reimbursing him.
The former IRS agent wrote on the audit paperwork that the weed business owed no taxes, while he tried to benefit from $20,000 in bribes, prosecutors said. Prosecutors told the jury Hurley failed to fulfill his duties as a public official.
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