FRANKLIN, Tennessee—IRS agent Samuel Garza committed multiple acts of sexual battery against her while conducting an audit of her business, a woman in her fifties who owns a convenience store in Fairview, Tennessee, testified at a dramatic two hour preliminary hearing in Williamson County General Sessions Court.
The Williamson County’s District Attorney’s Office told the court it has video and audio evidence that confirms the victim’s allegations and that Garza himself signed a sworn statement admitting guilt.
At the hearing, however, Garza entered a not guilty plea.
Garza, who was originally arrested September 3 on two charges of sexual battery by an authority figure, now faces two charges of sexual battery and one charge of aggravated assault. Presiding Judge M.T. Taylor, Jr. declined to lower bond for Garza, which now stands at $300,000. Bond was originally set at $200,000.
The victim testified that Garza choked her, touched her breasts, kissed her, pressed his erect penis against her buttocks in a grinding manner, and told her to touch his penis during the conduct of an official IRS audit despite her repeated pleas for him to stop.
If she did not cooperate, he told her, he would put her in jail and close down her business.
Despite her protests that she was married, in her fifties, a mother, and a grandmother, Garza persisted.
The cameras of local television station WSMV were in the courtroom throughout the entire preliminary hearing, and they captured this dramatic exchange between Garza’s defense attorney, Kyle Mothershead, and the victim, starting at the 1:25 mark in the video report, which you can watch here.
Reporter: “The defense attorney questioned the victim as to why she didn’t report the choking part of the incident until after investigators charged Garza with sexual battery. Hear what she had to say about that:”
Victim: “I don’t know why don’t you come and sit in my shoes. Why don’t you have somebodly like him come to you or go to your wife and have the veil of an audit come over you and have somebody come in to a place that you considered was safe, and you tell me how you would feel and have somebody touch you and you tell me if you could feel like you could leave and you could remember everything.”
The victim testified that she feared Garza because he was in a position of authority and that he could do what he threatened to do.
She also testified that she was audited before and was upset at the thought of a further audit.
Garza told her, she says, that the audit was caused by the way she processed checks at her convenience store.
The witness testified that she and her husband have owned the business for 30 years, and they had never been told before by anyone that they were processing checks incorrectly.
“Given the brazenness of this perpetrator’s actions, I would be stunned if this was the first time he did this. Everything I have seen about this case screams predator and repeat offender. He may not have been caught before, but I would be absolutely stunned if there are no other victims out there,” a former Tennessee prosecutor tells Breitbart News.
Garza first phoned the victim on Thursday, August 28, and asked if she had received the letter with the notice of the audit and the reason there was concern over the way the business was processing checks.
The victim said she did not have that letter.
Garza then faxed that letter from the IRS to her bank on Friday, August 29, where the victim apparently retrieved it. Such communication is unusual.
On Tuesday, September 1, Garza showed up for the first day of the audit, which was conducted on the premises of the convenience store.
At that time, the victim said Garza touched her hands and thighs, but she was not alerted to any sexual nature of that contact at that time. She thought that he was perhaps trying to be comforting.
He instructed her to meet him the next day at an office building she owned on the same property adjacent to the convenience store where she kept all the books related to the business.
The victim at the time did not consider this request out of the ordinary, she testified, as her previous audits had been conducted at that location.
The victim noted one unusual thing about that first day, however, she testified.
“He said he had checked me out on Facebook, and that he said he thought everything would turn out ok,” she testified.
The revelation that Garza had, in effect, stalked her on Facebook immediately after being assigned her case by his supervisor at the IRS suggests that he was screening the appearance of the owners of businesses he was assigned to audit in order to determine if they were attractive and sufficiently vulnerable to make sexual advances against them and get away with it.
Garza’s supervisor at the IRS was not identified at the preliminary hearing, nor was any information offered as to whether he is still employed by the IRS.
Presumably, his supervisor at the IRS will be called as a witness at trial.
Also, on the first day, Garza asked why the victim’s business structure had been changed from a proprietorship to an LLC.
The victim explained that her husband had attempted suicide at some point, and that subsequent to that event, the business was changed to its current LLC structure.
No other references to the victim’s husband’s involvement in the audit were mentioned, and it may be the case that the victim’s husband suffers some degree of incapacity and is unable to help her in the conduct of the business.
The information Garza gathered about the victim’s husband apparent inability to defend her suggests that he may have identified her as vulnerable to his advances at that time. It also suggests that he had developed a system of checklists for determining whether this particular subject of an IRS audit to which he was assigned would be a good victim to sexually assault without consequences or fear of discovery.
It is unclear whether Garza’s acted entirely on his own in selecting the victim or if his supervisor at the IRS played any role beyond assigning him the case.
Once they were alone in the building adjacent to the convenience store, on the second day of the audit, Wednesday, September 2, Garza’s conduct towards her changed dramatically.
The victim then recounted a harrowing tale of Garza’s conduct toward her that day.
While she was seated in front of her computer, the victim testified, Garza stood behind her and “placed his hands around her neck and squeezed them.”
The victim testified that her airways were not obstructed by this act, but that it scared her.
According to the statues of Tennessee, such conduct meets with the standard of sexual battery and aggravated assault.
The victim testified that Garza intimidated her that day, and despite her repeated protests, he continued his unwanted advances.
In addition to choking her, Garza touched her breasts, kissed her, pressed his erect penis against her buttocks in a grinding manner, and told her to touch his penis, she testified.
Garza told her she was sexy, and that her breasts were more like a woman in her thirties, the victim said.
“He put his hands around me and held on to me,” the victim testified.
“He started again with kissing me. His hands were around my waist, on my thighs. I told him to stop,” she stated.
He instructed her to wear a dress and sexy shows to a third day of audit activity, then left the building adjacent to her place of business.
Garza told the victim she wanted her to wear a dress because “it would be easier to get to her,” the victim testified, adding that she knew exactly what he meant by that.
Hours after this first assault took place on the afternoon September 2, the victim contacted the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department.
Since it was a case of his word against hers, Detective Tameka Sanders of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department met the victim in the parking lot of a local Walmart the next day, Thursday, on the morning of September 3.
There they placed an audio wire on the victim, and went to the building adjacent to the victim’s business.
Inside the building adjacent to the business where the third day of the audit was planned to take place, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department placed three video cameras to record Garza’s actions that day. The police officers then left the building, but were nearby. They could hear the audio on the victim, but not could not see the video in real time.
The victim was adamant that she had not complied with Garza’s request that she wear a dress that day.
“I wore a white shirt and blue jeans,” she testified.
When Garza arrived at the building that morning, Thursday, September 3, he immediately questioned her about her attire.
“Why didn’t you wear a dress?” he demanded, according to the victim.
“I wore the shoes,” she responded, she said in her testimony.
He immediately moved over to her chair, opened her legs, and put his hands up her pants leg, she testified.
He kissed her and touched her breasts, which made her uncomfortable, not only for the unwanted sexual advances, but also because she feared he would find out she was wearing a wire.
She placed her hand on her shirt over the wire, which apparently muffled the audio heard by the Williamson County Sheriff’s deputies listening in.
Alarmed that the victim might be in danger, Detetective Sanders placed a call to the building, a pre-arranged signal with the victim.
When asked if she felt unsafe, the victim said she did, and Detective Sanders instructed her to make an excuse to leave the building immediately.
When the victim left, Detective Sanders and other Williamson County Sheriff’s Department deputies moved in and arrested Garza.
The victim stated that she experienced “strain in the next and back” from the stress of wearing the wire on the third day of the audit, September 3, due to the stress on her body she positioned in a way so as not to give the defendant a clue she was wearing a wire.
“I went to the ER for that,” she testified.
Detective Sanders testified that Garza told her he had been assigned the victim’s case by his supervisor at the IRS.
After he was taken into custody, Detective Sanders spoke with him at the Williamson County Jail for about an hour. She read him his Miranda rights, and he verbally agreed to waive them. That verbal waiver was apparently captured on video cameras.
However, Garza did not sign the document waiving his Miranda rights until after his questioning, but before his booking.
Garza signed a document which stated that he had made inappropriate advances and made oral contact with parts of her body, according to the testimony of Detective Sanders. That document was shown to the judge, the Williamson County District Attorney, and the defense attorney, but it has not yet been made available to Breitbart News.
Garza emerged from a side door of the court at 1:55 pm wearing an orange jump suit with big black letters on the back that read “Williamson County Jail 2XL.” Garza’s hands were handcuffed in front of him as he sauntered almost defiantly to the defense table, where he sat down next to Mothershead, his attorney.
During the victim’s testimony, Garza lowered his head but kept a steady unblinking gaze on her that could easily be described as menacing.
Throughout the hearing, Judge Taylor presided with a firm and fair hand, pressing defense attorney Mothershead to follow the rules of evidence, and cautioning the victim to respond to the Mothershead’s questions in an appropriate manner.
The victim began her testimony in a quiet voice, but gained strength as the proceedings continued.
When pressed by the defense attorney why she did not immediately state that the defendant had also choked her, she vigorously defended her conduct, saying at that time she was most upset about how he had violated her “as a woman.”
During the somewhat heated exchange in which the defense attorney attempted to break her story, the victim loudly and strongly said she would rather die than let “that son-of-a-bitch” do “what he did to me as a woman” again.
In the end, despite multiple attempts, the defense attorney was unable to break the victim’s testimony.
Earlier in the hearing, Mothershead told the court that he had not viewed the surveillance video taken at the victim’s place of business that purportedly shows Garza committing these crimes, though those tapes have apparently been made available to him for his inspection by the District Attorney’s office.
“Why is this man not facing Federal prosecution? Why hasn’t the U.S. Attorney’s office indicted him for civil rights violations?” the former Tennessee prosecutor asks Breitbart News.
“The feds do not have to wait for the state to complete their prosecution and a civil rights conviction would carry much more time than a state sexual battery or aggravated assault conviction. If he is convicted of either of those, he could get probation. A civil rights conviction would mean a prison sentence for this guy,” the former Tennessee prosecutor tells Breitbart News.
Breitbart News has reported previously that, according to a whistleblower, Garza is “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to criminal misconduct of IRS employees in Tennessee.
IRS agent Jeremiah Beaty was arrested on child porn charges in August 2015.
“There are others, including sexual attacks and fraud in Memphis, meth manufacturing and distribution,” the whistleblower told Breitbart News.
It is unclear if Garza is still employed by the IRS, or if he will be allowed to return to his duties as an IRS agent auditing businesses if he is released on bond.
He has been incarcerated in Williamson County Jail since his arrest, and there is no indication that he will be able to make bond and be released.
Local television station WSMV reported further:
Detectives said once caught, Garza admitted guilt and signed a written statement.
It is possible Garza’s attorney will argue his Miranda rights were violated. The investigator reportedly recorded Garza awaiting his rights, but did not get his signature until after he admitted guilt.
Attorneys questioned the victim as to why she didn’t report the choking part of the incident until after the sexual battery charges were already pressed. She said she did not appreciate that line of questioning.
WSMV also reported that:
In a statement, the IRS said it holds employees to high standards and does not tolerate inappropriate behavior in the workplace or with taxpayers. When questions arise, the IRS works closely with the treasury, inspector general for tax administration and other law enforcement agencies.
IRS officials went on to say they cannot comment on specific matters.
It’s unclear how long Garza worked for the IRS or if he ever had problems in the past.
Breitbart News has made repeated attempts to confirm the details of this case with the IRS, but has received no additional information beyond what WSMV has reported.
Convenience stores are among a number of businesses in industries that have been targeted by the Obama administration. In May, the IRS seized $107,000 from a North Carolina convenience store owner it accused of structuring. That seizure has subsequently been reversed by court decisions.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, Garza’s attorney Mothershead asked for a bond reduction from its current level of $300,000.
Judge Taylor permitted three of the eleven people who came to court in support of Garza to testify.
One witness, who stated he was the interim pastor of the First Hispanic Church of the Nazarene from December 2013 to December 2014 said he had known Garza for two years, and that Garza, his wife and children attended the church.
Garza served as the treasurer of the church, and performed his duties reliably.
The witness, however, did not know the county in which Garza resided, his age, or had any contact with him outside church events.
The second witness, Garza’s sister-in-law, said she resided in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and had known Garza since 2009. Garza married his wife in 2011, and the witness said she was married to Garza’s wife’s brother.
The witness said that Garza had worked at the IRS for as long as she knew him, and they he had attended college. She did not know, however, which college he attended.
She also said that she thought Garza was born in Memphis, Tennessee and that his parents were pastors.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department, however, told Breitbart News that Garza was born in El Paso Texas. The Williamson County Arrest Warrant issued on September 3, 2015 stated that Garza was born on December 30, 1978. Breitbart News confirmed with the El Paso County Clerk’s office that a Samuel Garza was born in El Paso County, Texas on December 30, 1978.
The third witness called in the bond hearing was Garza’s boss at Office Depot, his second job. She testified that Garza had worked there for 11 months and that he worked 25 to 30 hours a week and was a reliable employee.
The defense did not call any witnesses at the bond hearing from Garza’s main employer, the Internal Revenue Service, nor did anyone from the IRS appear to be among the eleven supporters of Garza who attended the hearing.
Judge Taylor denied the defense’s request for a reduction in the bond, and it remains at $300,000.
Judge Taylor also signed an order of protection requested by the victim against Garza.
Garza remains in custody at the Williamson County Jail pending his next court hearing.
At the close of the hearings at 4 pm, Breitbart News spoke to the eleven supporters of Garza as they gathered on the courthouse steps.
Breitbart News first asked if any of Garza’s supporters wanted to speak to the press. All of them shook their heads now.
Breitbart News then asked if Garza was still employed by the IRS. None of Garza’s supporters responded as they walked away.
Despite the high profile and shocking nature of the alleged crime, only Breitbart News and WSMV television, the local NBC affiliate, were present at the preliminary hearing. Only Breitbart News, WSMV television, and WWTN radio 99.7 FM have reported on it so far.
Late Wednesday morning, WKRN TV in Nashville also reported on the story.