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Chicago-Area IRS Workers Suspended

July 29, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) _ At least eight Internal Revenue Service employees have been suspended during an investigation into whether IRS workers took bribes in exchange for helping taxpayers with such things as halting collection actions and providing transcripts of accounts, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Charlie Turek, president of the National Treasury Employees Union local in Chicago, and lawyers familiar with the case expect a federal grand jury to hand down indictments.

The paper said the workers, who are employed at four Chicago offices, were suspended with pay three weeks ago and were told they would be fired.

A message left at the union was not immediately returned Saturday. Turek does not have a home telephone listing.

Early editions of Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times cited unidentified sources close to the investigation as saying that tape recordings caught at least two employees allegedly accepting payoffs.

The Sun-Times, citing sources, reported that the employees include a customer-service representative who allegedly accepted payments of up to $50 to give preferential treatment to taxpayers or to provide transcripts of proceedings in a taxpayer’s account. Confidential transcript information could enable a creditor to file a claim for someone else’s refund or for a lawyer or accountant to solicit a delinquent taxpayer for business.

David C. Williams, the inspector general, declined comment to the Times on the investigation. IRS spokesman William Rivkin would neither confirm nor deny the investigation to the Sun-Times.

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