A Seattle IRS agent is facing federal charges after soliciting a bribe from a marijuana dispensary owner.
According to court documents, Paul G. Hurley was charged Monday in U.S. District Court with soliciting and agreeing to receive a bribe by a public official and two counts of receiving a bribe by a public official.
The incident began when Hurley, who was tasked with performing an audit on the dispensary, approached the shop owner and demanded $20,000 in exchange for leniency.
After the encounter, the business owner immediately contacted federal authorities who later oversaw multiple meetings and exchanges of cash between the pair.
During one of the final meetings, Hurley reportedly told the pot shop owner “off the record” that he had saved him more than $1 million despite no tax deductions existing for marijuana dispensaries.
During a meeting at a Starbucks, which was video and audio recorded by federal agents, Hurley attempted to reassure the business owner that he would not be caught for supplying him cash.
“You’re not in trouble. I brought this up to you,” Hurley allegedly said. “I’m the one that is going to get in trouble.”
Following the meeting, special agents apprehended Hurley and were able to recover $15,000 that was originally provided to the business owner by investigators.
If convicted, Hurley could face up to 15 years in prison and receive a $250,000 fine.