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Long Island

East Meadow man tried to bribe IRS agent, federal prosecutors say

The Internal Revenue Office in Hauppauge in 2019.

The Internal Revenue Office in Hauppauge in 2019. Credit: Barry Sloan

An East Meadow accountant was arrested Wednesday and charged with bribing an Internal Revenue Service agent, saying that he "would prefer his tax dollars go to a fellow Muslim than to fund the U.S. government’s foreign entanglements and support for Israel," court papers say.

Mohammad Sayeem, 42, is charged with one count of bribery of a public official.

The agent was auditing Sayeem's tax returns and attempting to determine whether he had underreported his 2017 income during three meetings at the defendant’s home, the papers say.

At the first meeting in June 2019, Sayeem implied that the agent could "help him out" with possible additional tax liability, and asked whether he could receive gifts, unsuccessfully attempting to hand the agent an envelope which the accountant said was for "the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha," court papers say.

Both the accountant and the agent are Muslims, the court papers filed by Eastern District prosecutor Anthony Bagnuola say.

After the meeting, the agent "immediately informed" his supervisors at the IRS about Sayeem’s actions, and they then had him wear a wire, the papers say.

At the second meeting in October 2019, Sayeem was recorded as implying that the agent "could overlook certain tax liabilities," according to court paper. Sayeem said he would like to give the agent a gift, this time ostensibly, for the agent’s "being a friend," the papers say.

It was at this meeting that Sayeem allegedly said he would prefer his tax dollars go to a fellow Muslim, court papers say.

At the third meeting in February, Sayeem said he would give the agent $1,500 in cash as well as a watch, if he would certify that the accountant had no tax liability, the papers say.

Acting on instructions of his supervisors, the agent agreed to accept the bribe and filled out a Report of Income Tax Change, saying that Sayeem had no tax liability, the papers say.

Sayeem then gave the agent the cash and the Michael Kors wristwatch, the papers say. When the meeting was over, Sayeem told the agent that if he had agreed with the scheme initially, the audit situation could have been resolved much sooner.

Sayeem said: "the first day when you came, I had … in my envelope $500 just to, you know, just to get rid of it."

The agent eventually determined that Sayeem owed an estimated $30,000 in tax liability, the papers say.

Sayeem pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond after his telephonic arraignment in federal court in Central Islip.

Sayeem’s attorney, federal public defender Randi Chavis, declined to comment.

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