Former IRS employee charged in $2.1 million Exxon Mobil tax credit theft attempt in Utah

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A former IRS employee was charged in Utah federal court for allegedly trying to steal $2.1 million in tax credits owed to Exxon Mobil by diverting the funds using a taxpayer database he had access to.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that former IRS account management worker Rodney Quinn Rupe received a U.S. Treasury check for $2,100,377 in January after diverting Exxon’s tax credits to an entity he had created, and then tried to deposit the check at multiple credit union locations over the next two months.

Rupe, a 46-year-old who lives in Syracuse, Utah, is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and theft of government property in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

He is due to make his first appearance in the case on July 3 in that court. The case was highlighted Thursday by the legal news website Court Watch.

Rupe was working at the IRS’ service center in Ogden, Utah, in 2021 when he began the diversion scheme, according to an indictment filed Wednesday.

As part of his job, Rupe “had the ability to adjust tax, credits, penalties, and interest to certain taxpayer accounts in an IRS computer database,” the indictment said.

Rupe accessed Exxon’s taxpayer account through the IRS database starting in April 2021, and three months later accessed the database “to assign a newly created Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) to an entity that Rupe created and controlled, Ex Xo Exteriors Ltd.,” the indictment said.

In April 2022, the indictment says, Rupe accessed a database to transfer $2.02 million in tax credits from oil and gas giant Exxon’s taxpayer account to Ex Xo Exteriors Ltd.’s taxpayer account, the indictment alleges.

More than a year later, in August 2023, Rupe “accessed an IRS database to transfer the diverted tax credit funds from one tax year to another,” the indictment says.

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A month after that, he allegedly applied those tax credits to Ex Xo Exterior’s 2019 tax account, which resulted in the IRS issuing a refund to Ex Xo Exterior for $2.1 million in the form of a Treasury check, according to the indictment.

He then tried to deposit the check at multiple America First Credit Union locations.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City, which is prosecuting the case and Rupe’s defense lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for Exxon Mobile declined to comment on the indictment.

An IRS spokesman and a spokesman for America First Credit Union had no immediate comment.

The office of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which investigated Rupe, in an email to CNBC said, “TIGTA does not comment on investigative matters which are ongoing or are pending prosecution by the Department of Justice.” 

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