Police, IRS to fight fiscal crime together

March 19, 2013

By Peter Clark

The IRS and the Issaquah Police Department plan to team up to root out regional financial crime.

In a memorandum of understanding approved and signed by the City Council during its March 4 meeting, the goal of local police assisting with the investigation of suspicious money movement took a step forward.

“We have been approached by several official federal task forces in the past and we didn’t want to put out those resources. We wanted to keep them closer to home,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said at the meeting. “The IRS asked if they could be involved in assigning people to do criminal investigations to looking at suspicious activity of moving money around our community.”

The offer would allow clear benefits to the IRS in harnessing the use of a detective to actively investigate red flags found in the system, however it would also assist the crime fighting efforts of the police force.

“Before, if we had any financial crime, we would call the IRS and they would look into it if they could,” Ayers said in a separate interview. “The IRS has a large caseload.”

Through its cooperation, the police department would allow the IRS, who would provide overtime pay, the use of one detective to look further into suspicious behavior seen by the federal office. Ayers looked at that as a part of his department’s responsibility to evaluate and respond to potential crime in the area.

Though the investigations could remain solely in Issaquah, the IRS also means to look into the surrounding area as well, including Redmond and Renton. They focus on these areas due to the number of large and wealthy range of businesses that operate locally.

“If there’s more money here, then you certainly have more of an opportunity to move it,” Ayers said.

Det. Ryan Raulerson will serve as the designated responder to the IRS inquiries. With five years of experience as a detective, he said he looks forward to the help he can provide.

“I’m really honored to be the individual chosen to be on a task force like this,” Raulerson said. “I’ve worked with several fraud investigations as well as large-scale harassment ones. I have experience with large-scale investigation.”

With the memorandum signed by the council, Ayers said that when the IRS adds its approval, the cooperation will begin. Allocating two years in the agreement, the Issaquah Police Department can opt out at anytime.

“It may certainly bring nothing, but we have an opportunity here,” Ayers said. “It gives us the ability to have another tool in our toolbox. We can start tracking our money and work in conjunction with the federal government to remove those crimes from our community.”

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