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November 13, 2023

Internal Revenue Service Employee Sent Controlled Substances to a Correctional Institute from the Internal Revenue Service Office

On October 5, 2023, in the Eastern District of Kentucky, at her initial appearance, Contessa M. Qualls pleaded not guilty to charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, possession with the intent to distribute a substance containing a Schedule I narcotic and controlled substance analogues, and misuse of Department of the Treasury names or symbols. Qualls had been indicted on these charges on September 21, 2023.

In October 2021, Qualls, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee at an IRS facility in Covington, Kentucky, obtained controlled substances from the internet and other sources for the purpose of mailing them to an inmate of Toledo Correctional Institute (TCI) in Toledo, Ohio. On at least two occasions, Qualls used IRS mailings, sent from the IRS office in Covington, Kentucky, to mail documents soaked in a controlled substance known as “K2” or “spice,” to an inmate at TCI. Qualls mailed documents for the purpose of sale and distribution in TCI by the inmate. Through using the IRS mailings, Qualls intended to deceive TCI officials by conveying the false impression that the mailings constituted official documents from a United States Government agency, thus introducing the contraband into TCI without additional scrutiny or interception. Qualls intended the controlled substances to be sold and distributed in TCI, where the value for one sheet of the controlled substance averaged more than $2,000 in Ohio correctional facilities.

Source: The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available document: E.D. Ky. Arraignment filed Oct. 5, 2023; and E.D. Ky. Indict., filed Sept 21, 2023