| NEW YORK, July 16
NEW YORK, July 16 A former Internal Revenue
Service examiner was sentenced to three years of probation on
Tuesday for pursuing a job at a bank at the same time that he
was negotiating an IRS settlement with the bank over an audit he
U.S. District Judge John Keenan also imposed a fine of
$10,000 on the former examiner, Dennis Lerner, saying that he
had shown "dopey judgment" when he applied for the position of
U.S. tax director for Germany's Commerzbank AG.
"You're an intelligent fellow with a master's degree,"
Keenan said. "You showed the judgment that some teenager would."
In a short statement, Lerner apologized for his actions.
"I just had very poor judgment," he said.
Keenan, who was an IRS examiner from June 2010 through
August 2011, audited Commerzbank in the summer of 2011 for what
U.S. prosecutors said was $1 billion in unreported income.
Lerner then led settlement negotiations for the IRS with the
During the negotiations, Lerner pursued the position of tax
director at Commerzbank and got the job in September 2011,
according to prosecutors.
Lerner's actions did not influence the settlement amount,
Keenan said at the sentencing in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan. Commerzbank, which cooperated with the investigation
into Lerner, declined to comment after his sentencing on
Lerner pleaded guilty to violating a criminal
conflict-of-interest law and to illegally disclosing
confidential audit information to an individual who was not
employed at the IRS.
Prosecutor Randall Jackson of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's
Office asked Keenan on Tuesday to sentence Lerner to four to 10
months in prison.
Lerner's crime "represents a tremendous betrayal of the
public trust," Jackson said.
Lerner's lawyer, Sharon McCarthy, asked for leniency given
Lerner's precarious health. He suffers from diabetes and heart
problems that necessitated quadruple bypass surgery, according
to court documents. As a 60-year-old felon, it is unlikely he
will find work in the tax field, she said.
The case is USA v. Lerner, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York. No. 12-02520.