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Council candidate under investigation

Medford City Council candidate Curt Ankerberg could be stripped of his CPA license, depending on the outcome of an investigation by the Oregon Board of Accountancy.

The investigation began earlier this year after a U.S. Tax Court judge found Ankerberg had fraudulently filed tax returns three years in a row.

“We have an open investigation, and the matter hasn’t been concluded at this point,” said Kimberly Fast, director of the Board of Accountancy.

She wouldn’t disclose the reason for the investigation, saying her department typically responds to complaints from the public or anonymous callers.

Ankerberg is running for the council seat in Ward 1 in northeast Medford. His opponents are Steve Dickson, Alex Poythress and David Dobrin.

Fast said the investigation began this year and that investigations generally take a few months to conclude. She couldn’t say whether the investigation might be finished before the election Nov. 6.

“I can’t predict something like that,” she said. The next meeting of the Board of Accountancy is Oct. 25-26 in Salem.

Fast said an investigation begins by gathering information and then presenting it to the Board of Accountancy Complaints Committee, which then makes a recommendation to the Board of Accountancy.

Much of the discussion by the Complaints Committee and later by the Board of Accountancy is held in executive session. However, the vote on what kind of disciplinary action should be taken, if any, is held in public and the outcome is posted on the Board of Accountancy website.

“If they find sufficient evidence, they vote on that and reach out to the respondent and try to settle the case,” Fast said.

In other cases that have come before the Board of Accountancy, outcomes have included suspending or revoking licenses or allowing accountants to voluntarily rescind their licenses in lieu of revocation.

Some accountants who have violated accountancy rules or run afoul of the law have had to pay penalties as well. In other cases, they’ve had to take continuing education.

On Jan. 8, U.S. Tax Court Senior Judge Mary Ann Cohen released her opinion on Ankerberg after listening to all the facts in the case. “We do not accept his (Ankerberg’s) explanations, and we conclude that respondent (Internal Revenue) has established fraudulent intent for each year by clear and convincing evidence.”

At the time, Ankerberg agreed he’d gotten hit with a tax-fraud penalty but blamed it on the IRS.

“This fraud penalty was their retaliation against me, even though I was blind and incapacitated during the period I was audited,” he said in an email to the Mail Tribune.

The judge didn’t buy it, pointing out that Ankerberg, during the time he claimed to have hydrocephalus and eye problems, managed to prepare 70 returns for clients in 2012, more than 60 in 2013, and more than 50 in 2014.

“He prepared returns for individuals, partnerships, S corporations and C corporations,” Cohen said. “He drove a car during each year, and he ran for local office nine times in nine years, including the years in issue.”

In an email sent to the Mail Tribune Sept. 27, Ankerberg took issue with the newspaper for its reports about the numerous profane remarks he’s made on social media and in email correspondence.

Ankerberg also said he would be cleared in the fraud case.

“Be advised that I am dealing with my state Board of Accountancy at the moment, strictly due to false charges that you made to them about me,” he wrote.

The Mail Tribune has contacted the Board of Accountancy several times over the year after reporting on Ankerberg’s tax-fraud case. The paper posted a copy of the U.S. Tax Court document on its website so that any reader could view it.

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

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