A former IRS supervisory agent in Baton Rouge must serve a year in federal prison, three months in a halfway house and nine months of post-custody supervision for her admitted unauthorized use of an IRS database.
Jeanne L. Gavin, 62, also must pay a $20,000 fine for covertly using that database for the benefit of her private tax service, a business that was not authorized by the IRS. Gavin admitted she received more than $70,000 from that business, Too Cool Enterprises LLC.
Gavin chose not to address Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson at her sentencing Thursday.
“You worked 34 years for the IRS,” Jackson told Gavin.
The judge added that Gavin knew she was not allowed to operate a private tax service while working for the IRS and concealed her business from superiors.
“It is a privilege to work for the people of the United States,” Jackson said. He compared Gavin’s actions to those of other criminal defendants who appear in his courtroom: “People who think they’re smarter than anyone else. People who think they can get away with anything.”
The judge also told Gavin: “I think you compromised the public’s trust in the IRS.”
Both counts to which Gavin pleaded guilty are misdemeanors — conflict of interest and exceeding authorized access to a government computer.
Anthony M. Bertucci, Gavin’s attorney, argued that she should be either placed on probation or sentenced to home confinement.
“Conflict of interest, yes. Not a moment of fraud there,” Bertucci told Jackson. “Home incarceration? Isn’t that punishment?”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson, however, argued that Gavin defrauded her subordinates, who thought they were engaged in IRS business when they ran computer checks on records of 70 people who were unreported tax clients of their boss.
On each of those roughly 2,300 occasions over a four-year period, Amundson said, those subordinates believed: “This is for official business.”
Added Amundson: “She was living in a gated community. She was doing quite well on her government salary.”
The prosecutor asked for “a strong sentence to send a strong signal.”
Jackson ordered Gavin to report to prison by 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
Bertucci argued that Gavin’s tax service had expenses that should have been subtracted from the $70,000 in extra income she admitted receiving.
But Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Smith, of the Office of Treasury Inspector General in Houston, testified that Gavin’s tax service essentially had no expenses.
Smith said Gavin did not have a company office, other than her office at the IRS, her home and the offices of some of her private tax clients.
The agent also testified that Gavin received more than $80,000 from her private tax service. Smith explained that $10,000 not mentioned in her formal charges was in the form of presents from some of her clients — including free use of a vehicle and a paid vacation.
The judge noted that he could have sentenced Gavin to two years in prison, but said he decided on one year because she has health problems that he did not specify.