A doctor from Heppner has pleaded guilty in federal court to tax evasion.
Kenneth Wenberg, 72, failed to report income that led to a tax loss of about $187,000. He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervision after release. He will be sentenced on June 6.
Wenberg is still listed as a provider on the Morrow County Health District website. According to the website, he has worked with Morrow County Health District since 1987.
Bob Houser, CEO of Morrow County Health District, said Wenberg is an independent practitioner and was not an employee of the district, nor had he ever been.
“The only thing he does for us now is contract work in the ER,” Houser said.
He said the company MCHD hired Wenberg through, Opal Butte Health Services, was not a sham organization.
“Every year we issue a 1099, and obviously, it’s not Morrow County Health District’s responsibility to see that that corporation pays its taxes,” he said.
Houser said he couldn’t comment about whether MCHD would continue contracting with Wenberg.
“We’re currently investigating our options,” he said.
Wenberg was indicted in December 2017 for creating several accounts to hide his earnings while providing medical services to Morrow County Health District and Urgent Health Care Center in Heppner.
In an indictment from 2017, Wenberg is charged with three counts of tax evasion, one for each year from 2012 through 2014.
Wenberg was charged with opening several sham accounts, and putting money he earned into them to avoid paying income taxes. Federal court documents state that he also paid for personal and family expenses out of money he put in those accounts.
Wenberg opened two companies in 2000, including Opal Butte Health Services, as well as several bank accounts in the name of those companies. The same year, he entered into agreements to start providing services for both Morrow County Health District and Urgent Health Care Center.
The Department of Justice said Wenberg has agreed to pay full restitution to the IRS for the tax loss.