IRS and Justice Department Release Citizen's Tax Returns to Alleged Criminal

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The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating the release of over 970,000 documents by the IRS to a defendant in a criminal case in California. The documents released contain thousands of disclosures of tax returns, social security numbers, and other sensitive data of citizens and businesses. Willful unauthorized disclosure of confidential tax return information is a felony offense carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail for each improper disclosure. Federal law also requires mandatory firing of government employees found guilty of willful unauthorized disclosures.

TIGTA Investigation of IRS Unauthorized Tax Return Disclosures

None of these people have ever met me or likely even know that I exist, yet their social security numbers and other confidential tax return information has been provided to me (and others).

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The Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), in case number 62-0907-0071, is investigating the release of over 970,000 documents by the government to the defendant in U.S. v. Jacquot (CR 08-1171) in the Southern District of California. The documents released contain thousands of disclosures of tax returns, social security numbers, and other sensitive data of citizens and businesses.

The recipient of these documents is David Jacquot, an attorney, retired Army officer and disabled, decorated combat veteran. He has been accused of filing false tax returns, a charge he vehemently disputes.

Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Mr. Jacquot requested the government provide him copies of specific items of relevant evidence held by the government. Rather than respond to these specific requests, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Faith Devine provided Mr. Jacquot electronic copies of 971,123 documents in 1,271 folders. The complaint alleges that AUSA Devine provided all these documents in an attempt to bury the relevant information amongst so many other documents that review of the same would be impossible before trial. Any meaningful review of nearly 1 million documents would likely take a year or more. The documents disclosed are packed with tax returns and other sensitive data of former employees, financial advisors, customers and vendors of the xelan family of companies. The complaint also describes how this information had been released to other individuals in addition to Mr. Jacquot.

When Mr. Jacquot realized what had been improperly provided to him, he contacted TIGTA, stating "None of these people have ever met me or likely even know that I exist, yet their social security numbers and other confidential tax return information has been provided to me (and others)."

Tax returns and information relating to tax return (such as social security numbers) is considered confidential under federal law. The IRS can only release this information to the Department of Justice under strict conditions, and release to third parties is subject to even more strict rules. The complaint describes how IRS Supervisory Special Agent Sara Brana, IRS Special Agent John Weeks, IRS Special Agent Van Nguyen, and other IRS employees willfully and improperly provided confidential tax return information to the Department of Justice. The complaint then describes how AUSA Devine and other IRS and Justice Department officials willfully released confidential tax return information to Mr. Jacquot and others. Willful unauthorized disclosure of confidential tax return information is a felony offense carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail for each improper disclosure. Federal law also requires mandatory firing of government employees found guilty of willful unauthorized disclosures.

The TIGTA Special Agent handling the investigation is Daniel Munoz. His contact information is provided in the Contact Box on the right side of the page. A copy of the complaint filed with TIGTA can be found at:

http://www.jacquotlaw.com/vindictive-prosecution.html. (Sensitive tax information has been redacted from the version of the complaint available for download.)

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