In what officials alleged was a real-life version of the cable TV series, “Breaking Bad,” an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service based in Washington, D.C., was arrested there early Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine on Long Island.
The Ivy League-educated attorney, Jack Vitayanon, 41, of Washington, who works in the IRS’ Office of Professional Responsibility, was being held in a district jail and had not had a hearing as of late Wednesday, officials said.
He was expected to be arraigned at a later time in federal court in Central Islip, officials said.
Vitayanon is also an adjunct professor of tax law at Georgetown University Law School, on whose website he is described as a former clerk for a federal judge in Florida, a former associate at the white-shoe law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, and a graduate of Dartmouth and Columbia law school.
The website says that Vitayanon’s IRS work “focuses on enforcement of regulations governing practice before the IRS by attorneys, accountants, and other tax professionals.”
An attorney for Vitayanon could not be reached.
The “defendant — a federal attorney working for the IRS’s Office of Professional Responsibility — broke bad and supplemented his income by selling distribution quantities of methamphetamine,” Eastern District U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said in a statement, referencing the cable television show about a fictional high school teacher involved in the manufacture and distribution of the drug, also known as speed. “The defendant will now be held to account for his alleged criminal conduct.”
A statement from the IRS said: “We cannot comment on specific personnel matters . . . The IRS strongly emphasizes that it will take any and all actions against inappropriate employee conduct, up to and including dismissal.”
Vitayanon is accused in a federal complaint of conspiring for several years with unnamed people on Long Island and in Arizona to distribute the drug, and conspiring to distribute 500 grams of the drug on Long Island.
As part of the investigation, Vitayanon was videotaped in a conversation over the internet “smoking what appeared to be methamphetamine from a glass pipe,” the complaint said.
The federal investigation into Vitayanon began in December when an unidentified person in Oceanside agreed to become a cooperating informant after receiving a package of the drug from what was described only as the Arizona source, according to the complaint. The cooperator said that Vitayanon said that he had “also purchased distribution quantities” of the drug from the Arizona source, the complaint said.