By Terri Eyden
Krystle Marie Reyes, who is accused of receiving a fraudulent tax refund from the state of Oregon, appeared before Marion County District Judge Joseph Ochoa in a Salem courtroom July 5.
Police arrested Reyes on June 6 on accusations that she filed a fake TurboTax electronic tax form claiming she earned more than $3 million in 2011 and was owed a $2.1 million refund. The Oregonian reported that "the size of the refund was red-flagged by the Oregon Revenue Department's automated checking system, but then approved after a manual check."
TurboTax issued Reyes a Visa debit card with $2.1 million on it, and she spent about $200,000 before reporting the card lost or stolen, according to court documents. The report of the lost card prompted a second review of her tax returns, which were then determined to be fraudulent.
The Oregon Department of Revenue has blamed what could be the biggest case of tax fraud the state has seen on "human error." Derrick Gasperini, spokesperson for the revenue department, said the results of the agency's internal investigation should be released sometime the week of July 9. The state has recovered about $1.9 million.
Andrew Campbell, a senior assistant attorney general appointed by the Marion County district attorney to handle the case, told Ochoa that investigators tracked purchases with the debit card at multiple locations, including a gun bought in Hermiston. Campbell asked the judge to set bail at $200,000, saying that Reyes is charged with serious crimes, facing "upwards of seven years in prison," and poses a flight risk.
Ochoa ordered Reyes be taken into custody and set bail at $50,000. According to a report by the Statesman Journal, "Reyes showed no emotion as Marion County sheriff's deputies placed her in handcuffs and escorted her to jail."
Reyes' next hearing is scheduled for July 13.