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James Lee selected to lead IRS Criminal Investigation

IR-2020-175, 2020-8-3

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that James Lee will become the new chief of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) on October 1.

Lee, currently CI's deputy chief and a 25-year veteran of the organization, will succeed current Chief Don Fort, who announced last month he will retire on September 30.

"Jim brings a quarter-century of Criminal Investigation management and field experience into this key enforcement role," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Jim is highly respected throughout the IRS and will continue long-standing working relationships with the civil enforcement functions of the IRS as well as with the Department of Justice's Tax Division and tax prosecutors throughout the country. He understands the need to support compliant taxpayers by maintaining a strong, robust enforcement effort focused on those who are compliance challenged."

As Chief, CI, Lee will lead the IRS's criminal enforcement efforts to investigate tax code violations and other related financial crimes such as money laundering, public corruption, cybercrimes, identity theft, narcotics and terrorist-financing.

Prior to serving as Deputy Chief of CI, he served as the Director of Field Operations, Northern Area where he oversaw CI enforcement programs in the Boston, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Philadelphia Field Offices. He also previously served in executive roles as the Director of Field Operations, Southern Area and the Director, Strategy.

Lee began his IRS CI career in 1995 as a special agent in Detroit. He moved into the CI leadership ranks and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career including Supervisory Special Agent in the New Orleans Field Office; Headquarters Senior Analyst in the International and Financial Crimes Sections; Assistant Special Agent in Charge within the Boston Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Office and later the Chicago Field Office.

Lee has a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Accounting from Tiffin University in Ohio.

He will follow Fort into CI's top position. Fort, who was named CI Chief in June 2017 will retire after a long career, which began in 1991 as a special agent in CI's Baltimore District.

"Don has been a remarkable leader and champion for IRS Criminal Investigation," Rettig said. "He has a distinguished career and the entire IRS leadership team appreciates everything he has done to uphold the law and support tax administration. We look forward to Don's remaining time at the IRS as well as Jim taking on a new role and building on the great tradition in CI."


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