Former IRS Contractor Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Leaking Tax Information on Trump and Wealthy Individuals

Charles Edward Littlejohn, a former contractor for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has been sentenced to five years in prison for leaking tax information on former President Donald Trump and thousands of the country’s wealthiest individuals. The leaks, which occurred between 2018 and 2020, were described by prosecutors as “unparalleled in the IRS’s history.”

U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes, imposing the maximum sentence, emphasized that the crime targeted the nation’s system of government and its democracy. She stated, “When you target the sitting president of the United States, you target the office. It cannot be open season on our elected officials.” Littlejohn, expressing remorse, acknowledged his responsibility, saying, “I acted out of a sincere, if misguided, belief I was serving the public interest. My actions undermined the fragile trust we place in government.”

Defense attorney Lisa Manning argued for a lower sentence, citing Littlejohn’s lack of a criminal record. However, Judge Reyes disagreed, deeming the crime extraordinary and emphasizing the need to deter others who might consider breaking the law. In addition to the prison term, Littlejohn will also serve three years of supervised release and pay a $5,000 fine.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida revealed that his tax information was among those leaked by Littlejohn. He expressed concern about the potential publication of his personal information, arguing that the former contractor should have faced additional criminal charges for exposing sensitive data with the intent to harm individuals.

Court documents revealed that Littlejohn had applied for the contractor position with the specific goal of obtaining Trump’s tax returns. He meticulously planned his actions to search and extract tax data without raising internal suspicions. Prosecutors pushed for the five-year sentence, which is one of the longest ever handed down in a leak investigation, according to the Justice Department.

While the charging documents did not explicitly mention Trump or the news outlets involved, the description and timeframe align with stories published by The New York Times and ProPublica. The New York Times report in 2020 exposed Trump’s minimal federal income tax payments, including a payment of only $750 in the year he entered the White House. ProPublica’s 2021 investigation revealed that the wealthiest Americans pay a smaller share of their income in taxes compared to many ordinary workers.

Both publications have refrained from commenting on the charges, and ProPublica reporters have stated that they were unaware of the source’s identity. The stories sparked calls for tax reform targeting the wealthy and investigations into the leaking of tax information, which is protected by specific legal provisions. The IRS has emphasized that any disclosure of taxpayer information is unacceptable and has since implemented stricter security measures.

This case serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and the potential consequences for those who violate laws intended to protect taxpayer privacy. As the nation grapples with issues of transparency and accountability, the repercussions of this leak will undoubtedly reverberate throughout the political and legal landscape.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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