Kalispell Accountant Sentenced for Tax Fraud

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A 63-year-old Kalispell man has been sentenced to a year in prison and fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to tax fraud for preparing false returns that helped his clients avoid paying thousands of dollars in taxes.

The U.S. attorney’s office says Al Benavides was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula.

Benavides was charged after an Internal Revenue Service investigation into his accounting business, Benavides and Company.

Court records say Benavides helped clients claim depreciation on false assets. Prosecutors say in one scheme, Benavides asked his client to pay him fees for accounting and consulting work, but then used part of the money to purchase personal items for the client, allowing his clients to claim substantial personal expenses as business expenses.

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