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July 6, 2020

Property owned by Anson town clerk convicted of embezzlement to be auctioned

Photo / Maureen Milliken The town of Anson will look to recoup some of the more than $500,000 it is owed in restitution from Claudia Viles, convicted of embezzlement in 2016, by auctioning her property in August.

Six properties in Anson and Embden owned by Claudia Viles, the former Anson town clerk convicted of embezzling more than $500,000, will be auctioned in an attempt to recoup some of what Viles owes.

Viles was convicted in 2016 of embezzling $500,948 between 2010 and 2015 from town excise tax payments. She was ordered to pay $566,257 in restitution to the town, which also included interest and costs, including the cost of hiring an auditor to investigate the theft. The auction comes after three years of legal wrangling over how much was owed and whether property owned by Viles and her husband could legally be converted to pay the restitution.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court in January upheld the town's conversion claim, denying Viles' appeal, and the Somerset County Superior Court in March amended the amount. The notice for the property sale lists $500,948, plus $39,620 in interest and $119 in costs, per a Somerset County Superior Court ruling in March.

Property to be auctioned includes a parcel on Kennebec River Road (U.S. Route 201A) and two lots at 211 Ellis Road in Embden. Four properties in Anson will also be auctioned: 34 Hall St., 3 Hall St., 65 Elm St. and a property off Elm Street. The auction will be Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m., at the Anson Town Office, 5 Kennebec St. Those intending to bid must deposit a bank check of $10,000 made payable to the town beforehand. The auction will be overseen by the Somerset County Sheriff's Department.

While the property was not described in the legal ad announcing the sale, court filings from 2016 describe the Anson property as residential, as well as the auto repair garage owned by her husband, Glenn Viles, and the Embden property includes a 131-acre camp. Anson, a town of 2,400, is across the Kennebec River from Madison; Embden, just north of Anson, is a town of 900.

Attorneys representing the judgment creditor weren't immediately available for comment this morning. Details of how much the property is worth were also not available, but the Somerset County Superior Court found that the assessed value of Viles' real estate holdings, with her husband, is $539,080.

Viles had worked in the town office since 1973, when she was hired as town treasurer; she was elected tax collector in 1982. Viles had collected excise tax money, often in cash and checks, and deposited it with the state. In 2014, when the town installed computer software to track payments, other town officials found discrepancies. An investigation led to Viles being charged in August 2015.

She was found guilty on one felony theft charge and 12 misdemeanors in June 2016, and was sentenced to eight years, three years of it probation. She began serving the sentence in July 2017. A request for a new trial was denied by the Somerset County Superior Court in October.

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July 30, 2020

The winning bidder will own it outright. Mr. Viles won't have any stake in any of it.

July 7, 2020

It is my understanding after speaking to the attorney referenced in the article that any winning bid will be owning 50% of the parcels. Mr. Viles has 1 year to buy back any of the parcels at the winning bid price plus interest. If he does not buy back the pieces, the winning bidder will own 50% and Mr. Viles will own the other 50% of the parcels.

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