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IRS examines tax preparer with police clients

Preparer James D. Comerford is not charged. Several St. Petersburg officers are among his customers.

By LEANORA MINAI

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- The Internal Revenue Service is investigating a tax preparer whose clients include several St. Petersburg police officers.

The preparer, James D. Comerford, said Tuesday he is feeling "terrible" about the matter and referred questions to his attorney.

"Mr. Comerford is presumed innocent," said attorney Robert B. Ohle, who was retained Monday. "That's the only statement I'm going to make."

Comerford, 56, has not been charged with any crime. He is not accepting new clients at the offices of James D. Comerford & Co. on Fourth Street N.

"I have a lot of work to do to get ready for this," Comerford said.

IRS Special Agent David Burris declined to confirm or deny an investigation.

Jack Soule, a St. Petersburg patrol officer and union president, said officers have approached him, concerned about the investigation.

"They just don't know what it's all about," said Soule, head of the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association. "My understanding is the officers aren't under investigation. It's the guy who did the taxes."

Several years ago, the union invited Comerford to introduce his services during a membership meeting.

"He was a retired police officer from Massachusetts and was doing tax returns and offered his services to police officers," Soule said.

Comerford did not prepare Soule's taxes.

- Staff writer Leanora Minai can be reached at (727) 893-8406 or by e-mail at

minai@sptimes.com.

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