An Internal Revenue Service agent based out of Seattle has been charged with soliciting bribes and accepting payment from a local cannabis business owner in the greater Seattle metro area.

Paul Hurley, 42, was charged in U.S. District Court Monday following his alleged actions of asking for $20,000 in cash from a store owner in exchange for giving lenience in an upcoming tax audit.

It’s been reported that the business owner in question did not even ask for leniency being sent his way.

Prosecutors assigned to the case say that Hurley presented the business owner a tax bill for 2013 and 2014 that was just north of $290,000 but reported that Hurley had ‘saved’ the businessman more than $1 million. In exchange for lowering the tax bill, the agent prompted the $20,000 from the presently unknown cannabis business owner.

Cannabis business operate in a very difficult business environment when it comes to taxes. Standard business expenses are not allowed as deductions on federal tax returns – while their gross revenues are taxed.

Authorities were contacted on Monday, after the second successful exchange of cash between the two parties was recorded. Hurley has been an IRS agent since 2009 and will be charged with a total of 3 counts of bribery related crimes. If convicted, he faces up to a $250,000 fine and 15 years in prison.

Hurley was present in court Monday and released on his own warrant pending future hearings. The FBI and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration are still investigating, we will post updates as they arrive.

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