A Columbia man and longtime South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) employee was charged with “unlawfully examining tax returns” and other records Wednesday, the state agency said in a news release.
An arrest warrant said David Leroy Demary was charged with felony unlawful examination of tax records as a public employee, according to the news release.
The SCDOR said the 54-year-old Columbia man was “browsing,” a term it uses when someone looks at tax records illegally.
From January 2018 to March 2019, Demary was browsing “20 separate business tax accounts and one individual tax account more than 500 times,” according to the news release.
Although Demary had been with SCDOR for more than 29 years, he was not authorized to look at the files in question, and they did not have anything to do with his job supervising the agency’s business registration section, the news release said.
SCDOR did not identify which businesses were the subject of Demary’s browsing, or indicate why he was looking at the tax records so frequently. There was no word on the status of his job, of if he had been fired.
“The South Carolina Department of Revenue does not tolerate the browsing of confidential taxpayer information,” SCDOR Director Hartley Powell said in the news release. “We hold our employees to high professional and ethical standards to maintain the trust the public has placed in us. ... All employees are aware of these standards and the strict consequences for failing to abide by them.”
If convicted, the maximum punishment Demary faces is a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine, according to the news release.
After he was arrested by SCDOR agents, Demary was “released on a personal recognizance bond,” the news release said.