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Howard Stern, IRS sued after private phone call allegedly aired

The woman said she had an "out-of-body" experience when she found out her private information had been broadcast.
The phone call between the IRS and Judith Barrigas allegedly aired on "The Howard SteGetty Images

Howard Stern has run the shock-jock gamut on his show from having women fake orgasms to encouraging pre-presidential Donald Trump to crudely talk about his daughter. His latest shocker: He's paired with the United States of America as respondents in a lawsuit.

IRS Agent Jimmy Forsyth called into “The Howard Stern Show” and was put on hold by a producer when Judith Barrigas called with a question about her taxes. Somehow, the producers at the show could hear the nearly 45-minute conversation between Forsyth and Barrigas about a potential misapplication of her tax refund, the Washington Post reported.

Barrigas filed a lawsuit against the United States of America, Stern and the Howard Stern Production Company on Monday in the Massachusetts District Court in Boston alleging that the call was broadcast on the show. Barrigas is suing on the grounds of negligence and unlawful invasion of privacy.

Barrigas found out when she started getting phone calls and texts from people she didn’t know. Her phone number and other personal information was sent across the radio waves to 1.2 million listeners, TMZ reported.

“As soon as I heard of this information I just started to quiver, and had what I would call an out-of-body experience,” she told CBS4. “I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought it was a joke.”

“My phone number is out there, my personal conversation, and I just feel terribly violated, and I feel like I’m in jeopardy that my credit information might be out there and I’m just totally devastated,” she added.

The IRS acknowledged the “troubling situation” and told CBS2 in a statement that the matter is under review.

“The IRS takes the confidentiality of taxpayer information very seriously, and we have high standards that we expect and require employees to follow.”

The clip has since been removed from YouTube and Stern’s website.

As of Wednesday, the Howard Stern Production Company has not publicly commented on the lawsuit.

 

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