Kalispell Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A Kalispell accountant has pleaded guilty to tax fraud for preparing false tax returns that helped his clients to avoid paying thousands of dollars in taxes.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 63-year-old Al Benavides pleaded guilty March 10 during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula. Sentencing is set for June 23.

Prosecutors say Benavides owned a tax preparation and accounting firm that helped clients avoid paying taxes by fabricating assets and claiming deductions for their depreciation and improperly claiming personal expenses as business expenses. In some cases, clients paid “fees” to Benavides for accounting or consulting work and Benavides used the money to buy personal items for the client, thus creating a business deduction for the expense.

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