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Medford builder faces tax forgery charges

A prominent Medford businessman has been arrested on felony charges alleging he forged his estranged wife’s signatures on a pair of tax returns and pocketed thousands of dollars in refunds for himself.

Louis Fredrick Mahar II, 42, was arrested Thursday on felony charges that consist of a pair of identity theft counts and five first-degree forgery counts, according to Medford police and Jackson County Jail records. Mahar was booked in the Jackson County Jail as of 5:55 p.m. Thursday and released after midnight Friday, records show.

Police believe that Mahar forged the signature of his estranged wife, Jessica Mahar, on amended 2015 state and federal tax returns filed last fall, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau and documents filed by Jessica Mahar in the couple’s divorce proceedings.

As of Saturday, Mahar, a co-owner of Mahar Brothers Construction Co., which builds residential homes, had not yet been charged in Jackson County Circuit Court on the seven Class C felony charges for which he was arrested. The company issued the following statement:

“Mahar Brothers Construction has been made aware of the current legal allegations being raised with one of our non-active owners, Louis Mahar. We want to make clear that these allegations are of a personal matter with Louis. The allegations have no affiliation, nor association, with Mahar Brothers Construction or any clients of Mahar Brothers Construction. We do not comment on staff members personal lives. Mahar Brothers Construction Company has successfully built a solid reputation over the past 20 years and we pride ourselves on the high quality work we provide our customers. We will continue to provide top-notch service and transparent communication with our customers.”

Jessica Mahar first contacted Medford police about the alleged forgery charges May 23, according to Budreau, telling police that her signature was forged on an amended 2015 joint tax return without her knowledge.

Louis Mahar is then believed to have deposited refund checks into a joint checking account, before withdrawing the entirety of the refunds, according to Budreau and documents filed last week by Jessica Mahar in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleging contempt of court in the couple’s pending divorce proceedings.

Jessica Mahar claimed her estranged husband deposited a $6,061.50 state refund check into their joint checking account without her knowledge on Nov. 30, then “withdrew the monies.” Budreau said the investigation also involves a modified federal return.

“I did not sign an amended joint tax return for 2015 for the State of Oregon,” Jessica Mahar stated in a notarized declaration filed July 11, later adding that she was “not advised regarding a potential refund.”

“I have not received any amount of this tax refund check. I did not give written consent to (Louis Mahar) to use or dispose of this tax refund, and there was not a court order for (him) to do so.”

Undisclosed tax refunds first came up during a May 15 divorce hearing, after her divorce lawyer faced difficulty getting requested tax returns for the past three years, according to Jessica Mahar’s declaration among other divorce court records.

“In late May 2018, my attorney was provided with discs which had the unsigned 2015 joint state and federal income tax personal returns, as well as the unsigned amended 2015 joint state and federal income tax returns,” Jessica Mahar stated.

Louis Mahar faced felony assault charges once before, after he punched Dateline NBC producer Shane Bishop during a June 7, 2016, altercation at Agate Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Point. Mahar was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of bench probation after pleading no-contest to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault as part of a negotiated plea agreement.

While not an admission of guilt, a no-contest plea has the same legal consequences as a guilty plea. As terms of the plea agreement, Mahar was ordered to pay restitution amounting to $7,849.33, which court records show as fully repaid.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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