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The Oregon Department of Revenue has demoted one employee and taken disciplinary action against three others for actions that apparently led to a $2.1 million tax refund being issued to Krystle Marie Reyes of Salem. Reyes, who received the refund on a debit card, spent about $150,000 and was been sentenced this month to 5.5 years in prison.

Reyes pleaded guilty to one felony count of tax evasion and three counts of felony theft. She twice reported the card lost or stolen. Reyes used TurboTax to file her return and those reports caused Intuit to alert Oregon officials. Her request for a refund had been set aside for review, but that was overridden. Three agency employees are supposed to review overrides, but that did not happen.

In a prepared statement, Oregon Revenue Director Jim Bucholz said internal controls did not work .As a result, two Personal Tax & Compliance Division employees were assigned to positions in which they can no longer approve cash refunds. Two other employees received disciplinary actions, but kept their jobs.

According to news reports, Reyes had not earned more than $15,000 a year. The Oregon department, without naming Reyes, said she had filed a return claiming she earned $3 million in 2011 and was due a $2.1-million refund. The unit has modified its computer system so only high-level officials can sign off on suspiciously large tax refunds. An audit trail is now created to verify which manager has conducted the final review of such a refund. The department reviewed all claims for refunds of more than $50,000 that were filed for the last three years, but concluded no others were improperly approved.


Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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