Crooked taxman faces seven years

Crooked taxman faces seven years

Former IRS agent Humberto 'Bert' Gonzalez, 50, faces a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $450,000 after pleading guilty to three felonies in a computer fraud and graft scheme.

Gonzalez, of Casselberry, Fla., was a senior revenue officer at the IRS' Maitland, Fla., office. According to the Justice Department, he was assigned a collection case and while following it up, he developed a personal relationship with the businesswoman who owed the government taxes.

'During the relationship Gonzales used his position to improperly close her account as 'currently not collectible,'' the U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando said in a statement. 'This resulted in an estimated loss to the government of $32,000.'

Between 1997 and 1999, Gonzalez improperly used the IRS' Integrated Data Retrieval System 66 times to access the accounts of 20 taxpayers and their businesses. He also violated IRS procedures to access closed accounts, Justice said.

Gonzalez received favors from taxpayers for canceling their tax debts, such as free work on his garage door, his car and his girlfriend's car, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Charged with one count of computer fraud and two other violations, Gonzalez pleaded guilty before U.S. Judge Karla Spaulding in Orlando last month and likely will be sentenced next month, said a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office.

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