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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Columbia Tax Preparer Sentenced for Fraud Scheme, Failure to pay Taxes

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


David Lee Keithley, 63, of Columbia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to two years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Keithley to pay $291,041 in restitution to his victims. Keithley must surrender on March 10, 2017, to begin serving his sentence.


On Aug. 2, 2016, Keithley pleaded guilty to 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, 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.


According to court documents, Keithley has a lengthy criminal history of theft and fraud, including three state felony convictions that involved, among other crimes, thefts from business clients and stealing funds that were supposed to be used for a client’s tax payment.


This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Financial Fraud
Updated January 25, 2017