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IRS agent pleads guilty in tax fraud

March 31, 2009|Scott Glover

An IRS agent whose job entailed conducting audits of taxpayers agreed to plead guilty Monday to a federal charge of cheating on his own taxes, authorities said.

Jim H. Liu, 43, of Diamond Bar signed court papers admitting that he filed a false tax return for 2002 that cheated the government out of nearly $15,000, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

According to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Liu sold a property in Pomona for a profit of more than $48,000 that year. But he claimed on his taxes that the transaction resulted in a loss of $4,200.

Liu agreed to plead guilty to a tax fraud charge that carries a penalty of up to three years in federal prison.

He also promised to file an amended tax return for 2002 and agreed to pay $36,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and restitution, according to the plea agreement.

"This case serves as a reminder that tax laws apply to all people," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Bayron T. Gilchrist, who prosecuted the case.

"It's especially egregious when you have somebody who's supposed to enforce those laws who instead willfully violates them."

Some of the wording in the plea agreement reinforced the notion that, despite his employment with the IRS, Liu was being treated like just another taxpayer. For example, it reminded Liu that nothing in the agreement prevented the IRS from further scrutinizing his amended return after it was filed.

Neither Liu nor his attorney could be reached for comment. His job status with the IRS was not immediately available.

The investigation into the IRS agent was conducted by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.

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scott.glover@latimes.com

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