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February 23, 2024

Former IRS Contractor Sentenced for Disclosing Tax Return Information

On January 29, 2024, in the District of Columbia, Charles Edward Littlejohn, a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contractor, was sentenced to five years in prison for disclosing thousands of tax returns without authorization. 

Littlejohn, while working on an IRS contract, accessed and stole tax returns and return information for a high-ranking government official and related entities and individuals. Littlejohn queried a database using generalized parameters that would nevertheless collect the high-ranking government official’s tax return information in the resulting data set. He uploaded this data to a personal, private website to avoid IRS protocols designed to detect and prevent large downloads or uploads from IRS systems. Littlejohn then stored the data in multiple locations, including on personal storage devices, such as his Apple iPod.

Between August 2019 and October 2019, Littlejohn disclosed to a news organization the tax return information associated with the high-ranking government official. In the Spring of 2020, Littlejohn stole additional tax return information associated with the high-ranking government official and provided it to the news organization. In September 2020, the news organization published the first of several articles that publicly disclosed information contained in the high-ranking government official’s tax returns.

In July and August 2020, Littlejohn separately stole tax returns and return information associated with thousands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals. In November 2020, Littlejohn disclosed this tax return information to a second news organization, which has since published nearly 50 articles using the information provided by Littlejohn.  

Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D.D.C. Judgment filed Jan. 31, 2024; D.D.C. Info. filed Sept. 29, 2023; D.D.C. Stat. of Fact filed Oct. 12, 2023; and Department of Justice Press Release dated Jan. 29, 2024.