By The Examiner staff

A Grain Valley man has pleaded guilty to stealing money from his small business clients.

Geoffrey Scott Carter, 42, pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of failure to account for and pay employment taxes.

Carter admitted that he collected $82,580 in employment taxes from five small-business clients, which he was supposed to turn over to the Internal Revenue Service. Carter, though, kept the money for his personal use.

Carter opened his own business, Carter’s Tax Service, in 2001, preparing tax returns. In 2005, he began providing payroll services to his small-business customers, and beginning in 2008, all he provided was payroll services.

His services included filing IRS Forms 940 and 941 and cutting payroll checks for his clients. He was given access to his clients’ bank accounts, and Carter transferred money from those accounts into his business account, where he comingled the funds and then submitted the forms. He failed to submit payments along with those forms from 2007 through 2010, accruing the $82,580.

Carter faces a sentence of up to five years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution on each of the five counts. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.