Covington IRS worker charged with perusing celebrity accounts

(COVINGTON, KY) -- Marvin Lewis, Alec Baldwin, Chevy Chase and Tara Reid are just some of the people that an IRS employee based in Covington is accused of accessing their tax returns.

According to the U-S Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, John Snyder, 56, accessed the accounts of nearly 200 celebrities including former Cincinnati Reds players, Sally Field, Randy Quaid, and even his next door neighbor.

Snyder was arrested earlier Thursday and arraigned in U.S. District Court in Covington.

"These kinds of allegations are serious, because it touches the lives of hundreds of people," said Assistant United States Attorney Alamdar Hamdani.

The Affidavit supporting the complaint alleges that from 2003 until 2008, Snyder, an employee with the IRS since 1991, improperly accessed the IRS accounts of local sports figures and Hollywood actors.   It also states that the IRS possesses a data base that contains sensitive, personal and tax information on all tax payers.

IRS employees are permitted to access the information for business purposes only.

However, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted a routine analysis to look for suspicious accesses from employees.  The affidavit alleges his search resulted in the discovery of numerous suspected unauthorized accesses by Snyder, who works almost exclusively with business accounts as opposed to individual tax payer accounts.

Snyder's next court appearance is scheduled for July 1, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.  Snyder faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in imprisonment, not more than a $250,000.00 fine, or both, and up to 1 year of supervised release.

According to the United States Attorney's Office the filing of a complaint is an accusation only, and that person is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.