A revenue agent for the Internal Revenue Service was arrested for accepting payment from a Seattle marijuana dispensary owner after allegedly soliciting a bribe.

Paul G. Hurley, 42, of Seattle, was charged with soliciting and agreeing to receive a bribe by a public official and two counts of receiving a bribe by a public official.  Hurley appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon and was released on his personal recognizance. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.

According to prosecutors, Hurley has been an IRS revenue agent with the IRS. Starting in July, he began auditing the 2013 and 2014 tax returns of a Seattle marijuana business. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, no business deductions are allowed on federal tax returns and the gross revenue is taxable. 

Hurley presented the owner of the marijuana business with his tax bill for both years, totaling more than $290,000. However, Hurley told the business owner he had saved him more than a million dollars and then allegedly asked for $20,000 in cash. The business owner alerted his lawyer, who in turn contacted law enforcement. They watched two meetings where Hurley allegedly accepted money delivered by the business owner. He was arrested after the second meeting Monday morning.

Hurley faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two charges if he is convicted.

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