Ex-IRS agent in BR charged with conflict of interest in federal case

A former supervisory agent and group manager at the Baton Rouge office of the Internal Revenue Service was charged Thursday by federal prosecutors in connection with her alleged unauthorized and simultaneous operation of a private tax service.

Jeanne L. Gavin, 61, of Baton Rouge, faces one count of conflict of interest and one count of exceeding authorized access to a government computer. Each count is a misdemeanor. Each is punishable by as much as one year in prison. And each carries possible fines that could total as much as $100,000.

At the IRS office in Baton Rouge, Gavin “supervised approximately 10 revenue agents responsible for determining federal tax liability and collecting” taxes owed by individuals, partnerships and corporations, according to the charges pending against her.

Gavin also “was involved in identifying taxpayers to be audited, assigning the auditor, and overseeing the audit,” her charges state.

In 2005, however, Gavin formed a tax and accounting service called Too Cool Enterprises LLC, according to both her criminal charges and records of the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

Too Cool Enterprises is listed in current state records as a limited liability company that is in good standing. Gavin is listed in those records as the company’s agent, manager and member.

Gavin’s federal charges allege, however, that she operated that company from 2005 through 2009 without first obtaining “a written conflict of interest waiver from the IRS.”

In addition, the charges allege, Gavin knew “the IRS would not have provided a conflict of interest waiver to perform private tax services.”

The charges allege that Gavin had previously used the IRS waiver process to gain permission to operate other businesses that were “unrelated to tax services.”

While still at the IRS, Gavin’s charges allege, she had access to the service’s Integrated Data Retrieval System, which provided “databases and operating programs that supported IRS employees working active tax cases.”

But Gavin secretly and improperly used that system for the benefit of Too Cool Enterprises, according to her charges.

The former revenue agent received more than $70,000 from her private tax and accounting business while employed by the IRS, according to her charges.

Gavin, who left the IRS in September 2009 after a 30-year career, could not be located for comment Thursday.

IRS Special Agent Janet Magee, public information officer for the service’s New Orleans field office, said in an email Thursday that she could not comment on Gavin’s case.

Gavin was not indicted, but was charged in a bill of information that was signed by U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. and Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson.

Amundson filed a document late Thursday in the case, which is assigned to Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson.

In that document, Amundson said prosecutors and Gavin plan to sign a plea agreement in the case.

No details of that agreement were included in the court filing.