News and Press Releases

Al Benavides Sentenced in U.S. District Court

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on June 29, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, AL BENAVIDES, a 63-year-old resident of Kalispell, appeared for sentencing. BENAVIDES was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 12 months and 1 day

Special Assessment: $100

Fine: $25,000

Supervised Release: 1 year

BENAVIDES was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to tax fraud.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

During the relevant time period, BENAVIDES owned and operated Benavides and Company, a tax preparation and accounting business in Kalispell. In this capacity, BENAVIDES prepared tax returns that were demonstrably false that saved his clients thousands in tax by routinely inflating the basis of property, fabricating false assets on the depreciation schedules and improperly claiming substantial personal expenses to be deducted as business expenses.

Specific to one count, BENAVIDES established a scheme whereby the client would ostensibly pay him "fees" for certain accounting or consulting work that would ultimately be used by BENAVIDES to purchase personal items for the client. First, the client would write a check to BENAVIDES for "fees." Then the client characterized the check as a legitimate business expense and deducted it on his corporate books. Finally, BENAVIDES used the money to purchase certain personal items, such as jewelry, for the client. Thus, the client received both the business deduction and possession of a personal item, while BENAVIDES turned a profit.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BENAVIDES will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BENAVIDES does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.



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