Man Pleads Guilty to Sending IRS Agent Letter Containing Suspicious Powder

A Santee, California man has pleaded guilty to twice sending threatening letters containing white powder to an IRS agent who was auditing him.

James Robert Harer, a self-employed contractor, was responsible for the evacuation of the federal building in downtown San Diego last summer after the second letter was sent to IRS agent Vickie Hom. The powder turned out to be laundry detergent in one case and roach killer in the other, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

"Your lies have cost me," one letter said. "You lie so that you can receive your bonus money. Well, now it's my time to get even with you. You won't know when or where or even how, but I will get you and more. Our freedom's (sic) are stolen by you . . . and now it's time we take our rights back."

During a hearing Thursday, Harer told U.S. Magistrate Judge James F. Stiven that he mailed the letter to frighten Hom.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Parmley said the victim was traumatized by the threats, which occurred on June 3 and July 22, 2003.

"He sent a threatening letter and he put white powder in it, so his only intent was to intimidate, to threaten and to spread fear," Parmley said. "We have agents working around the clock to try to prevent terrorism, and what a phenomenal waste of time for them to have to spin their wheels chasing a hoax case."

Harer's attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said his client had been audited before and was distressed to learn he would have to face another audit.

"It was very hard for him to plead guilty," Armstrong said. "I hope (the judge) will give him the lightest sentence possible."

Harer faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine, but prosecutors will recommend a one-year sentence under terms of a plea agreement, Armstrong said. He said he will seek a work furlough program for Harer. Sentencing is set for Oct. 25.

You may like these other stories...

Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA...
When Theodore J. Flynn first joined the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) in 1970, it was a different world and a different profession.  The "Big Eight" were still headquartered in Boston. Vietnam War...
Accountant Rickey Charles Goodrich had it a little too good. Many bean counters would kill to serve as financial guru to the likes of Pearl Jam. Goodrich was hired in 2005, and the following year, he became the CFO of Curtis...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.