A former Louisiana state senator is accused of failing to pay $190,000 in federal taxes, and an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent says he spent 10 years investigating the case.
Ed Handel, who worked for the IRS for more than 30 years, testified during the trial of former Sen. Charles Jones that he did everything he could during his 10-year investigation to bring Jones to justice for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands in earnings from legal fees and converting the money into cashier's checks. The money was also used to buy property.
A grand jury indicted Jones in 2008, and he was charged with failing to pay taxes in 1999 and 2000. But Handel testified during Jones' 2010 trial that he began his investigation more than a decade earlier. Beginning in 1989, Handel said the IRS garnished Jones' legislative salary, placed levies on his campaign account and placed liens on his properties. But Jones claimed little property, kept no or little money in bank accounts and leased his car. Despite the low yield, Handel said he kept pressing, even after he and his superiors determined that his continued investigation bordered on harassment.
The 10-year investigation was the longest in Handel's career, he testified. And Jones' lack of cooperation during that time and failure to pay taxes spurred discussion within the IRS to drop the case since the failure to pay only drove up additional interest and penalties.
However, Handel's probe led to Jones' indictment, and the 2010 trial, where witnesses testified to Jones' alleged activity. In June, a mistrial was declared after jurors failed to reach a verdict. A retrial was rescheduled for August 2010.