An IRS agent has been charged with soliciting and accepting a $9,700 bribe from two business owners in exchange for lowering the amount of taxes they owed.

Roger Anthony Coombs, 40, of Circle Pines, Minn., was charged with one count of corruptly soliciting and agreeing to receive and accept anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act.

The criminal complaint was unsealed upon Coombs's initial appearance last Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis.

The complaint alleges that on May 8, 2010, Coombs met the two business owners to discuss an IRS audit of their business and said the business owed the IRS approximately $60,000.

Coombs allegedly said he could make the situation "manageable," and added he would arrange for the IRS to accept $11,000 instead of $60,000 if the business owners paid him $9,700.

Coombs, who began working for the IRS in June of 2009, conducted audits of individuals and entities to determine whether those individuals or entities had correctly reported their tax liability to the IRS. On Feb. 4, 2010, one of the two business owners received a letter from Coombs regarding the audit. On May 6, 2010, Coombs met with the business owners at the office of their accountant. At that meeting and without the accountant present, Coombs allegedly told the business owners they should meet somewhere away from the accountant's office and without the accountant to further discuss the matter.

Because of his concerns about Coombs' alleged proposal, one of the business owners secretly recorded their May 8 meeting. Coombs allegedly said he would have to lie about certain things in their audit. They agreed to another meeting where Coombs would receive a partial payment of the bribe. Following the May 8 meeting, the business owners reported Coombs' activity to law enforcement.

Coombs and one of the business owners met on May 19, 2010, in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Agents observed the business owner providing Coombs with $3,000. Coombs said he had already taken care of things at the IRS. The two arranged for another meeting on June 2, 2010, to exchange a second payment toward the full bribe amount. Coombs was arrested last Wednesday.

If convicted, Coombs faces up to 15 years in prison.


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