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Medford tax preparer indicted on charges of tax fraud, identity theft

A Medford tax preparer faces tax fraud, theft and other charges for allegedly stealing clients' identities to bilk the state of Oregon out of thousands of dollars in 2009, court records show.

Tirsa Fong Villanueva, 48, faces 18 felony charges handed up in a secret indictment Jan. 25 following an investigation by Oregon Department of Revenue agents and the state Department of Justice, records show.

Villanueva, who is also known as Tirsa Fong-Guien, is a former Mail Tribune employee who in recent years worked for Liberty Tax Service in Medford. Liberty Tax owner Marshall Holman said he was aware of the case but declined to say whether the charges stem from returns allegedly prepared through his business or from alleged work done outside of her regular employment.

Holman on Thursday said Villanueva no longer works for the tax service, but he did not elaborate.

Villanueva did not return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment.

Department of Justice spokesman Tony Green and Medford attorney John Howry, who is representing Villanueva, both declined to comment on the case.

At issue are four 2008 state income tax returns Villanueva allegedly prepared in early 2009 for two couples and two individuals named in the indictment.

The charges allege that Villanueva stole the identities of her victims and then illegally used computers to file the four false state returns to steal $1,000 or more in each instance, according to the indictment.

The four first-degree theft charges she faces all list the state of Oregon as the victim, while the six identity theft charges list the customers as victims, according to the indictment.

The other charges include four counts of computer crime and four counts of filing a false tax return.

The indictment does not outline the total amount of money lost by the state.

Villanueva appeared in Jackson County Circuit Court on the charges Jan. 26, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail, court records show.

She was scheduled to appear next in court March 19, records show.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.