A Long Beach-based Internal Revenue Service agent who allegedly tried to solicit a $5,000 bribe from a taxpayer pleaded not guilty today to a federal charge.
Felecia Edna Taylor, 50, a resident of the Florence neighborhood in South Los Angeles, was arrested in May at the IRS office in Long Beach after being named in a one-count federal criminal complaint that charges her with solicitation and receipt of a bribe by a public official, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A July 22 status conference and a Sept. 3 trial before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. were scheduled.
Taylor, who has worked for the IRS since 1990, is a tax compliance officer for the federal agency, planning and conducting examinations of individual and business taxpayers, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.
On May 1, a taxpayer contacted law enforcement and alleged that at a meeting two days earlier, Taylor was “inviting a bribe” in exchange for lowering the amount owed to the IRS to $10,000, according to federal prosecutors.
The taxpayer was allegedly supposed to pay the bribe to Taylor on May 7 at her office, court papers state. Instead, the taxpayer met with law enforcement and was wired for sound and given $5,000 in cash to hand to Taylor, the affidavit states.
According to a recording of that meeting, Taylor provided adjusted tax records to show a reduction of the taxpayer’s liability to $10,616 as agreed, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges. In response, the taxpayer allegedly handed Taylor an envelope containing $5,000 in cash.
Taylor took the envelope in one hand, mouthed the word, “Five?” and placed five fingers in the air to non-verbally confirm the amount the taxpayer had just given her, court papers allege.
When the taxpayer replied, “Yes, what we agreed on, yep it’s all there,” Taylor placed the envelope on her desk and stated, “We are all done,” the affidavit alleges.
If convicted of the bribery charge, Taylor, who remains free on bond, would face up to 15 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.