By Ken Berry
When will a small minority of tax professionals learn that crime doesn't pay? You would think they would know better. It is particularly embarrassing for federal, state, or local officials when one of their own is caught red-handed.
In the latest example, a tax enforcement agent from Mentor, Ohio, was arrested on September 9, 2011, for allegedly stealing nearly $12,000 in cash from an Akron liquor store, the Wine Barrel.
Bryan Bossert, an investigator with the Ohio Department of Taxation, was charged by Akron police with two counts of felony theft. According to police reports, he was observed on two separate occasions taking cash from a briefcase in the store's office. The apparent thefts were exposed by the store's video surveillance tapes. It is not known why Bossert was in the store.
A spokesman for the state taxation office said that Bossert was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case. The forty-five-year-old tax enforcement agent has worked for the department for nine years. Essentially, agents such as Bossert are armed law officers who are assigned potential tax fraud cases to investigate. There are about thirty such agents statewide.
The Ohio Department of Taxation has no further comment on the case. Naturally, it will be viewed as a black eye for the state administrators, who certainly have a red face.