A tax preparer in Howard County has been arrested on three charges of stealing by deceit.
The probable cause statement alleges David Keithley, 60, of Columbia, prepared the 2011 tax return for James and Joyce Stark, of Glasgow. He allegedly took a check from them, claiming he would forward it to the IRS. He is also accused of charging them additional and unnecessary fees related to their tax preparation. The funds he allegedly stole from the couple are believed to total almost $13,000.
Keithley appeared in a Howard County Courtroom for a hearing Wednesday morning. The judge denied Keithley’s request for his bond to be reduced. Keithley is being held in the Howard County Jail on $75,000 bond. He’s expected to return to court on June 7.
Keithley apparently isn’t new to the legal system. He pleaded guilty to theft charges in two separate cases that were filed in 2005 in Boone County, according to online court documents. His criminal record also includes unresolved theft charges in both Boone and St. Charles Counties.
Investigators believe Keithley has mostly targeted elderly people, and could have victimized people in the 2013 tax season. The IRS and federal government could get involved if Keithley’s alleged acts netted him more than $40,000. Authorities do not have a complete estimate at this time.
A number of victims have been coming forward in recent weeks and police believe additional charges could be filed. Authorities are asking area residents to check their records from the last few years. If they have worked with Keithley and notice any discrepancies they’re being asked to report those issues to law enforcement.