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POLICE & COURTS

Ex-president of company pleads to felony tax evasion

The former president of a Clarence-based payroll services company pleaded guilty to a felony tax evasion charge in federal court on Thursday.

Keith Kuehlewind, 54, of Amherst, admitted that he collected payroll taxes from several business clients, then failed to forward those payments to the Internal Revenue Service. He faces the prospect of having to pay $687,170 in restitution to victims.

He is the former owner and president of Audax Business Solutions, which went out of business after its operations were investigated by the IRS Criminal Division and the state Department of Taxation and Finance, authorities said.

In July, Kuehlewind accepted a guilty plea in state court, admitting that he failed to pay $16,000 to the state in payroll taxes. He still awaits sentencing in that case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory L. Brown is prosecuting the federal case against Kuehlewind. District Judge William M. Skretny scheduled sentencing for March 30.

In addition to the court-ordered restitution, Kuehlewind could be fined up to $250,000. He faces a maximum prison term of five years, but under advisory sentencing guidelines would be likely to spend less time in prison. Officials said the crimes took place in the years 2007-09.

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Elderly woman terrorized by 2 men in home invasion

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- An elderly woman was terrorized shortly after 10:30 a.m. Thursday when two men invaded her Homewood Avenue home.

The bandits demanded cash and forced the victim to the floor. The two fled toward Bridge Street with an undisclosed amount of cash.

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Byron man, 45, sentenced to prison in drug case

A Genesee County man was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Thursday for trafficking in methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana that he obtained in Rochester, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

Kenneth E. Munnings, 45, of Byron, was convicted of felony drug conspiracy charges after an investigation by the FBI, state police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Investigators learned that Munnings trafficked in "significant quantities" of drugs in Genesee County during the years 2006-08, prosecutor Brett A. Harvey said.

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Two teens arrested after rescue from gorge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Two teenagers were arrested early Friday after they allegedly went deep into the Niagara Gorge and vandalized the area where the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boats are stored.

One of the teens had to be rescued from the icy gorge before he could be arrested, police said. The arrests were made after a private security company notified the Niagara Parks Police Service at 4:30 a.m. that someone was trespassing in the dock area where the boats are kept.

Because of the steep slope and icy conditions in the gorge, members of the Parks Police High Angle River Team had to rappel down into the gorge to arrest one of the suspects near the Rainbow Bridge, police said.

The suspects, two males, ages 17 and 18, were arrested on a criminal charge of mischief causing more than $5,000 damage. The older suspect also was charged with obstructing police. Their names were not released because they are considered youthful offenders, Constable John Gayder said.

"They were grousing around down there, and they tipped over some custom-made aluminum scaffolding that was next to the boats," Gayder said. "We believe alcohol played a role in what happened."

The famous boats were not damaged, the constable said.

Niagara Falls fire officials helped to remove the younger suspect from the gorge. He required hospital treatment for onset of hypothermia.

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Woman pleads guilty to $85,000 in forgeries

A Batavia woman admitted Thursday that she forged nearly 100 checks from her former employer's account for her own benefit over the course of two years.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Deborah Dutton, 55, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of check forgery before District Judge William M. Skretny. Her case was investigated by Buffalo agents of the U.S. Secret Service.

While working for an unidentified business in Batavia, Dutton repeatedly forged checks on her employer's account for a total of $85,000. The checks were payable to Dutton or to others for her benefit, prosecutor Gretchen L. Wylegala said.

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Lockport man, 37, pleads guilty in child porn case

A Lockport man faces an April 4 sentencing date after pleading guilty to felony possession of child pornography on Thursday.

Robert J. Terhaar II, 37, possessed more than 600 images of child porn on his computers, disks and thumbdrives, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti said.

Terhaar, who was arrested earlier this year, will be sentenced by District Judge William M. Skretny.

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