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Springfield accountant pleads guilty to defrauding nonprofit, business

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A Springfield accountant pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to embezzling over $3 million from a local nonprofit and business and failing to pay $2 million in taxes during the past six years.

David Hayes, 59, waived his right to a grand jury before admitting to charges of theft from an organization receiving federal funds, wire fraud and making a false federal tax return, according to a news release from the office of Tom Larson, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Hayes formed The Hayes Group LLC in 2006 after he left Hayes, Ramlow and Bush PC. The latter firm reorganized without Hayes as Bush, Ramlow and Shore PC, its current name, according to LinkedIn and Springfield Business Journal archives.

By pleading guilty yesterday, Hayes admitted he embezzled $1.97 million from Springfield nonprofit Alternative Opportunities Inc. and $1.03 million from Queen City fencing company Carnahan-White LLC, according to the release.

At Alternative Opportunities, Hayes was a board member 2006-11, served as coordinator of merger and acquisition activity 2006-13 and was its internal auditor 2011-13. Alternative Opportunities, which did business as Dayspring Behavioral Health Services, operated clinics in Arkansas for mental health and behavioral treatment services. It merged with Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. in May 2015.

From Jan. 3, 2011, to March 31, 2014, Hayes embezzled nearly $2 million from the nonprofit by illegally causing it to issue checks payable to himself or a person not identified in court documents. Hayes then deposited the funds into his personal checking account, according to the release.

Hayes also admitted he defrauded Carnahan-White between June 9, 2014, and June 26, 2016.

The accountant started working as a consultant in 2012 for Miami Nation Enterprises, an economic development corporation of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Hayes later became chief financial analyst and chief financial officer for Miami Nation, which in 2014 bought a majority stake in Carnahan-White, according to the release.

To embezzle from Carnahan-White, Hayes obtained business checks from the company without the knowledge of Miami Nation. He then transferred funds from Miami Nation to Carnahan-White’s bank account and altered the fencing company’s financial records to conceal his embezzlement by classifying the expenditures as “Inventory – Wood.”

Additionally, Hayes failed to file tax returns 2011-15. His total tax harm through 2016 was $1.7 million to the federal government and $316,162 to state governments, according to the release.

Under federal statutes, Hayes could be sentenced to 33 years in federal prison without parole.

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