FAYETTE, Mo. - Police across Mid-Missouri are asking people to check if they have been scammed on their taxes, after a local tax preparer is charged with stealing thousands.
David Keithley faced a judge for the first time Tuesday. ABC 17 News reported last week he was charged for scamming a Glasgow couple. Since that story aired, law enforcement said more potential victims are coming forward.
Howard County investigators said the case is much larger than they first thought and they currently can't even pinpoint how huge this case is.
Due to the number of people involved, investigators said the collection of evidence is time-consuming and the calls from new victims keep coming in.
"There is a lot of money involved and a lot of people… it is scary," said Cpt. Jeff Glandon with the Howard County Sheriff's Department.
It is clear by talking to law enforcement that they believe Keithley has been scamming his clients for a while by telling them to write checks to him for money owed to the IRS. "He is having the individuals just write the checks out to Keithley and Associates, and therefore he is able to take that money and utilize it in his own way," said Glandon.
The Glasgow victims first brought their story to the Howard County Sheriff's Department after the IRS said they owed money for taxes from last year. Finally they talked to a tax expert and were notified that they had likely been victimized.
The elderly couple had given Keithley almost $13,000 that he was supposed to give to the government. "He had stolen the money from this couple through deception," said Glandon.
ABC 17 News found court documents that detail Keithley as guilty of a similar crime in Boone County. Other court documents show he faces the same charges in a second case as well. "It is my understanding he is also on probation and parole for stealing," said Glandon.
The current Columbia victim said Keithley did his company's taxes and ran off with more than $1,500. It was money the victim was forced to pay again, but instead to the IRS just as the Glasgow couple did.
Keithley has been in the Mid-Missouri area for more than five years. Investigators said they know of two addresses he used in Fayette and Columbia, however they do not know if he is still in business.
"That to me is a big red flag... Do business with people who show their business and check them out," said Glandon.
Keithley has mostly targeted elderly people, and may even have victims from 2013. At this point, investigators aren't sure how much money has been stolen, however if it turns out to be more than $40,000, the IRS and federal government will get involved.
Keithley is now behind bars in Howard County on a $75,000 cash-only bond. He asked a judge to lower that amount on Tuesday, but the judge denied the request. His next court date is June 7.
Currently police are asking people to check their records for the last few years if they have worked with Keithley. They're asking if people see any issues to call law enforcement and report it.