Former IRS Agent Gets 2 Years, 9 Months
Roger Anthony Coombs, a former tax agent for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), was sentenced Thursday to two years and nine months in prison, Minnesota's U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday.
Coombs, a 41-year-old man from Circle Pines, pleaded guilty on August 19 to one count of soliciting and agreeing to take a $9,700 bribe in exchange for reducing the tax bills of two Minnesota business owners.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson handed down the sentence in federal court in St. Paul.
Coombs, who was indicted on June 21, admitted in his August plea agreement that he solicited a bribe from the owners of a small Minnesota business-whose names were not disclosed in court documents.
Coombs allegedly met with the business owners for an audit in May in the office of the company's accountant. While the accountant was out of the room, Coombs suggested that he and the business owners meet again-without the accountant present.
Concerned about the legitimacy of the meeting, one of the business owners secretly recorded the discussion, during which Coombs said that the business owed the IRS approximately $60,000. Coombs told them that he could make the situation more “manageable” by altering the audit so that the IRS would accept $11,000-and Coombs would receive a personal payment of $9,700.
The business owners contacted authorities, and investigators were present when Coombs accepted a $3,000 payment toward the bribe. When they met again, Coombs accepted the remaining $6,700-and was arrested.
“Rooting out public corruption is one the FBI's highest priorities,” Ralph Boelter, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis office, said in a statement. “Corruption committed by government employees or public officials will not be tolerated and will be vigorously investigated.”
Boelter said that the case was the result of a tip from a concerned business owner, and the FBI is “always grateful for those who come forward to report corruption.”