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November 24, 08

NEWS / Auditor at D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue Pleads Guilty to Receiving a Bribe

WASHINGTON - El-Hadj Drame, a Tax Auditor with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, has pled guilty to one count of Receipt of a Bribe by a Public Official, announced U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the FBIís Washington Field Office, and Charles J. Willoughby, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.

Drame, 36, of Silver Spring, Maryland, entered his guilty plea earlier today in U.S. District Court before the Honorable Paul L. Friedman. Drame is scheduled to be sentenced on February 18, 2009, and could face up to 18 months in prison under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as a result of the guilty plea. Pursuant to his guilty plea, Drame has agreed to resign from OTR.

According to the factual proffer agreed to by Drame, Drame began his employment as a Tax Auditor at OTR in April 2005. His duties included conducting office and combined field audits of a wide range of different tax returns filed by individuals, partnerships, fiduciaries, unincorporated business, and corporations to determine correct tax liability.

In April 2007, Drame was assigned to conduct a tax audit on a particular business located in the District of Columbia. The audit specifically targeted the businessís sales and use tax liability. In late October 2007, Drame met with the businessís accountant and the business owner at the businessís office to discuss the businessís tax liability. At the meeting, Drame provided the businessís accountant and the business owner with his initial calculation of the businessís tax liability. The businessís accountant told Drame that his proposed tax liability for the business was too high.

On November 2, 2007, Drame telephoned the business owner and told the business owner that he wanted to talk to him about the audit and how Drame could help the business owner. Drame and the business owner agreed to meet a couple of days later at a McDonaldís in Silver Spring, Maryland. At that meeting, on November 4, 2007, Drame told the business owner that he could reduce the businessís tax liability, but, in exchange, the business owner would need to make a payment to Drame.

On November 8, 2007, Drame and the business owner again met at a McDonaldís in Silver Spring, Maryland. Drame again explained that he would lower the businessís tax liability in exchange for a payment by the business owner to Drame. Drame told the business owner that he wanted a payment of $6,000. The business owner asked Drame if he could write him a check for the $6,000. Drame responded that he wanted the $6,000 in cash because he was concerned about a check being traced. When the business owner asked Drame what assurances he had that Drame would reduce the business tax liability, Drame replied that he would not do anything to upset the business owner and cause him to tell others about their agreement. Drame told the business owner that he wanted no one else, including the businessís accountant, to know about their agreement, because Drame was concerned about their deal being reported. Drame told the business owner that after Drame received the $6,000 from the business owner, Drame would email confirmation of the tax liability reduction to the businessís accountant.

On November 14, 2007, Drame met the business owner on the street outside the businessís office in Washington, D.C. There, the business owner gave Drame $6,000 in cash in a white envelope and asked Drame questions about what would happen next. Drame told the business owner that the next day he would email to the businessís accountant documentation showing the reduced tax liability for the business.

On Thursday, November 15, 2007, Drame sent an email to the businessís accountant which reflected the reduced tax liability for the business.

In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Taylor, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Persichini, and District of Columbia Inspector General Willoughby praised the hard work of FBI Special Agents Robert A. Schwinger and Sean T. Ryan and District of Columbia OIG Special Agent Lloyd Hodge. They also commended Legal Assistant April Peeler. Finally, they commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Chubin Epstein, who prosecuted this matter.


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