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Would You Try to Bribe an IRS Agent?

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with an office in Clifton, N.J., and one of his clients were arrested this morning by special agents of the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for allegedly trying to bribe an IRS revenue agent to reduce the client’s tax liability of more than $900,000.

According to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, Hamed Aref of Clifton and his client Yousef Zaben of North Bergen, N.J., are each charged in a criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official and two counts of bribery of a public official. Both men are variously charged for alleged bribes related to Zaben’s tax liability. One of the bribery charges against Aref also alleges he attempted to pay an IRS revenue agent to reduce the tax liability of another client, Zaben’s son.

According to documents filed in this case:

An IRS revenue agent referred to in the complaint as “R.A.” was assigned to conduct an audit of Zaben’s son, a client of Aref’s. During a meeting with Aref that month, R.A. told him that approximately $90,000 in bank discrepancies for the 2010 tax year would require additional tax payments.

After that conversation, Aref ran his own accounting and tax preparation firm. A discussion began in Aref’s office and continued outside the building, per the CPA’s request. Aref asked R.A. to reduce the tax liability by $20,000, offering approximately $2,000 to the agent in exchange. R.A. pretended he would think about the offer and set a date for another meeting with Aref, then immediately reported the bribe attempt to law enforcement officers from TIGTA.

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