Friday, August 25, 2000

IRS worker admits peeking at tax return

The Associated Press

        An Internal Revenue Service employee pleaded guilty Thursday to viewing tax return information without authorization and agreed to resign.

        Paula V. Alexander, 52, of Hawkhurst Drive, Colerain Township, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Hogan.

        Ms. Alexander, who has worked for the IRS since 1971, was charged with unauthorized access to tax return information.

        Federal prosecutors said she violated IRS rules by accessing the tax return information of her cousin and his law partner through the use of the IRS computer database. An audit trail is created whenever an IRS employee accesses the database, prosecutors said.

        Ms. Alexander could be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison and fined up to $100,000, U.S. Attorney Sharon Zealey said. Ms. Alexander is free on her own recognizance until her Nov. 9 sentencing.

        Former U.S. Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, sponsored the legislation making unauthorized access to tax information illegal, Ms. Zealey said.


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