Columbia tax preparer sentenced to two years in federal prison

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Columbia tax preparer was sentenced in federal court today for defrauding his clients and failing to pay his personal income taxes, which totaled almost $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 to his victims. Keithley will begin his sentence on March 10, 2017.

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. After accepting funds from his clients, Keithley didn't make his clients’ tax deposits to the government. Instead, Keithley used the money for his own benefit. 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 to 2013.

The total loss caused by Keithley is $291,041.

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