You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Columbia Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme, Failure to Pay Taxes

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Columbia, Mo., tax preparer has pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding his clients and failing to pay his personal income taxes, which totaled nearly $300,000.


David Lee Keithley, 63, of Columbia, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, to an information that charges him with one count of assisting in the filing of a false income tax return and one count of failing to file an income tax return.


Keithley owned and operated Keithley and Associates, offering tax preparation and payroll tax services in Columbia. Keithley was hired by his clients to prepare the proper tax returns as well as make the tax deposits to the government.  After accepting funds from his clients, however, Keithley failed to make the clients’ tax deposits to the government. Instead, Keithley admitted today, he used the money for his own personal benefit. When clients contacted Keithley after receiving letters from the IRS indicating these returns had not been filed or taxes had not been paid, he told his clients he would contact the IRS to correct it. The total amount of these misappropriated funds is $120,354.


Keithley also admitted that he willfully failed to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2013. The total amount of tax owed by Keithley to the IRS for those years is $148,423. In addition, Keithley owes the state of Missouri $22,264 for state income taxes due for the years 2009-2013.


The total loss caused by Keithley’s criminal conduct is $291,041.


Under federal statutes, Keithley is subject to a sentence of up to four years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Updated August 4, 2016