A Texas restaurant owner has been sentenced to two years in jail after he was convicted of trying to bribe an IRS agent by offering her free pizza and a job.

Ramesh G. Khilnani, 51, a Houston-area resident and a native of India, offered pizza and “work” to an IRS agent in February 2008 after an audit of his business showed that he owed $49,000 in back taxes for the years 2004 to 2007. The auditor, suspecting she was being offered a bribe, reported the incident to her supervisor.

Agents from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration arranged for the recording of subsequent meetings – via telephone and in person – between the agent and Khilnani. During the course of these contacts, Khilnani offered the agent  $2,500 and delivered $2,000 in exchange for having his tax liability reduced from $49,000 to around $500. In addition to financial compensation, Khilnani repeatedly offered the agent pizza from his restaurant as part of the deal.

Khilnani pleaded guilty and was convicted of bribery of a public official. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. sentenced Khilnani to 24 months in federal prison for bribery of a public official. He has been in federal custody since his arrest in October 2008 and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.

Khilnani is a citizen of India and has no legal status in the U.S., according to prosecutors, and he is subject to deportation upon completion of his prison term. 

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