A Somerset County judge agreed Wednesday to give an attorney for former Anson Tax Collector Claudia Viles more time to prepare the case before it is scheduled to go to trial.

Viles, who resigned from the tax collector job in September, is charged with theft, failure to make and file state income tax returns on five counts, failure to file or pay state income taxes on six counts and tampering with public records. The charges stem from an investigation by Maine State Police and the Office of the Maine Attorney General into the disappearance of more than $400,000 in excise tax money at the Anson Town Office.

The case originally was scheduled for trial Nov. 2. A new trial date has not been set, defense attorney Walter McKee said. A message left at Viles’ home late Wednesday was not returned immediately.

In a motion filed last week in Somerset County Superior Court, McKee wrote that the amount of information in the case is “voluminous” and that he is in the process of meeting with Viles to review information revealed by the criminal investigation.

“An expert may well be retained. The case is not ready for trial in November,” McKee wrote.

“The case involves thousands of documents and simply requires significant time to review, prepare and defend,” he said in an email Wednesday. “That’s why we aren’t in a position now to address the case.”

Maine Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, the prosecutor in the case, has indicated that she has no objection to removing the case from the November trial list, according to the motion filed by McKee.

Judge Andrew Benson approved on Wednesday the motion to continue the case.

Before her resignation, Viles held the elective position of tax collector for 42 years. Last December, town administrative assistant Triss Smith found a discrepancy between the amount of money Viles had reported collecting in 2014 and the amount that actually was collected, according to court records. Smith resigned in May.

An audit by the group Purdy Powers & Co. confirmed that $76,686 was missing from the town’s accounts, and the information was reported to residents at Town Meeting in March.

Subsequent audits of town records have revealed excise tax shortfalls totaling $438,712 between January 2011 and September 2014.

Viles pleaded not guilty to the 13 charges against her during an initial court appearance last month, but according to the court records, she is alleged to have told the town’s auditor, “I’m the tax collector. It’s my responsibility and I’ll pay it back.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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