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Fraud haunts Ankerberg

The Oregon Board of Accountancy on Friday found evidence of fraud, dishonesty and misrepresentation in three years of tax returns filed by Medford certified public accountant and City Council candidate Curt Ankerberg, a finding that could cost him his CPA license.

In a 4-1 vote, the board decided there was sufficient evidence of fraudulent intent when Ankerberg underreported income and improperly claimed deductions in his 2012, 2013 and 2014 tax returns.

During an executive session, the board considered four violations against Ankerberg. During the public portion of the meeting, according to an audio recording on its website, the board found enough preliminary evidence to support a violation of Oregon Revised Statue 673.170 (5), which relates to dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation of a public accountant.

Ankerberg is running for Ward 1, or northeast Medford, against Alex Poythress, Steve Dickson and David Dobrin.

Dobrin didn’t file his information in the Jackson County Voters’ Pamphlet but his name still appears on the ballot.

Both Poythress and Dickson have criticized Ankerberg for engaging in fraudulent behavior and not paying taxes.

At a later stage in the process, the Board of Accountancy will decide on disciplinary actions, which could include monetary damages, suspension or license revocation.

Based on other disciplinary actions that have come before the board, a settlement agreement is often reached with the CPA.

The board based its vote on a Jan. 8 opinion and finding of fact by U.S. Tax Court Judge Mary Ann Cohen after reviewing an Internal Revenue Service investigation of Ankerberg’s returns. Cohen found the IRS had “established fraudulent intent for each year by clear and convincing evidence.”

Ankerberg, who has demanded the Mail Tribune not contact him, said in a previous email that he had multiple health problems that led to the inaccuracies in the returns, including temporary blindness and water on the brain.

“So yes, I got hit with a tax-fraud penalty,” he said in the email. “The IRS was intent on hitting me with a fraud penalty from the start.”

He said the fraud penalty was a retaliation by three IRS agents, whom Ankerberg claimed had falsified legal documents against their clients.

Cohen found Ankerberg’s assertions unconvincing because he also had prepared 180 tax returns during the same three-year period for individuals, partnerships, S corporations and C corporations.

Ankerberg also had driven his car and had run for public office during the period when he had his health problems, the judge wrote.

On April 17, Cohen issued a decision in the case, finding Ankerberg owed income tax of $10,224 for 2012, $25,875 for 2013 and $13,926 for 2014.

Penalties, according to Cohen, amount to $7,668 for 2012, $19,406 for 2013 and $10,444 for 2014.

Ankerberg, besides his tax woes, has a reputation locally for using profane language, referring to women as “whores” or “pigs.”

Poythress, who is on the Medford Planning Commission and the Medford Parking Commission, said candidates should come prepared for the position they’re seeking and be prepared to deal honestly with fellow councilors and the public.

“I was just raised differently,” said Poythress. “Integrity was ingrained in me since I was a Boy Scout.”

Poythress said his concern is that Ankerberg has better name recognition in the community, which might benefit him when voters fill out their ballots.

Dickson, who sits on various city committees, including the Medford Budget Committee, works in human resources for Veterans Affairs.

Dickson could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but he has condemned Ankerberg’s behavior and worries that it could carry over to the City Council if Ankerberg were elected. Ankerberg has run unsuccessfully for various offices 10 times.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on @reporterdm.

Curt Ankerberg