The criminal case against former Anson tax collector Claudia Viles has been delayed as an accountant continues to review evidence, which involves 13 charges of tax fraud.

It is the third delay of a dispositional hearing for the case.

Viles, who resigned from the job in September, originally was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a dispositional conference — in which both parties and a judge discuss the future of the case and whether it will go to trial. Her attorney, Walter McKee, said in an email this week that he has requested the case be delayed further so that an accountant can continue to review evidence.

“It is not a new evidence issue at this point, simply the need for a careful and detailed analysis,” he said.

Viles declined to comment Tuesday.

This is the third time a dispositional conference has been rescheduled in the case, after McKee asked for more time to review evidence in October and Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin filed a motion to delay the hearing because of a scheduling conflict in November.

At an arraignment in September, Viles pleaded not guilty to the 13 charges against her, which include theft, five counts of failure to make or file state income tax returns, six counts of failure to file or pay state income taxes and tampering with public records.

McKee said Tuesday that he expects the case to go to trial.

Tim Feeley, a spokesman for the Office of the Maine Attorney General, said in an email that the state is ready to proceed with the case and no new charges are anticipated.

Before she resigned, Viles held the elective position of tax collector for 42 years. In December 2014, former 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.

An auditor subsequently was brought in to review the town’s accounts and confirmed that $76,686 was missing in 2014. Subsequent audits of town records have revealed excise tax shortfalls totaling $438,712 between January 2011 and September 2014.

Viles is alleged to have purposely reported false numbers during regular town audits and, according to court records, told an accountant for the firm Purdy Powers & Co., “I’m the tax collector. It’s my responsibility and I’ll pay it back.”

Maine State Police in April seized $58,000 in cash from Viles’ home as part of an investigation into the missing funds. Viles initially claimed the money had been seized wrongfully from her, but she withdrew a court motion to have the money returned shortly after the town filed a civil lawsuit against her.

The civil lawsuit remains on hold while the criminal case is pending.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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