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Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Culture | By Elsie Buchanan

Woman Sues After Her IRS Convo Airs

Woman Sues After Her IRS Convo Airs

A MA woman has sued Howard Stern and the federal government after her telephone conversation with an IRS agent was aired on Stern's show.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Boston.

"I started to receive phone calls and text messages from all over the country informing me that the information I was discussing with the IRS agent was being aired on the Howard Stern Show", Barrigas told WBZ. While on hold, Forsythe took Barrigas' call and spoke to her for almost an hour about her issue.

Among the personal information that was allegedly broadcast to some of Siruis XM's 30 million subscribers was Barrigas's phone number. "At first I thought it was a joke".

"Only upon notice from WCVB did the IRS begin an investigation into the matter and place Agent Forsythe on administrative leave", the complaint states.

The lawsuit says, "Stern and the Stern Show were fully aware that they were broadcasting and disseminating Mrs. Barrigas's tax and personal information, yet failed to take any action to stop the broadcast". In it, Stern can be heard yelling "Jimmy!" seemingly in an attempt to get the IRS agent's attention, while co-host Robin Quivers says, "If he's working we can't interrupt him".

According to Barrigas, the "outrageous violation" of her privacy resulted in her having difficulty finding employment and she also suffered from anxiety, loss of sleep and irregular eating patterns.

Barrigas says the IRS was apparently planning to ignore her complaint altogether until she not reported the incident to the consumer helpline run by local news outlet WCVB-TV.

Section 7431 in the Internal Revenue Code allows taxpayers to seek civil damages from the agency if any information on tax returns and return information is unveiled to the public without the consent of the person in question.

Representatives for the IRS and Stern have not returned requests seeking comment.

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