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United States Attorney's Office

Recent Press Releases

April 28, 2011

Warrensburg restaurant manager pleads guilty to tax fraud conspiracy
KANSAS CITY - The manager of a Warrensburg, Mo., restaurant pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to file false tax returns. Javier Posada, 43, of Warrensburg, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Mexico, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to the charge contained in a Sept. 7, 2010, federal indictment.
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Independence man pleads guilty to receiving child porn
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving child pornography over the Internet. John H. O’Leary, 64, of Independence, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to the charge contained in a Nov. 19, 2010, federal indictment.
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April 27, 2011

Ellisville man sentenced for racketeering enterprise that engaged in forced labor
KANSAS CITY - An Ellisville, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states, including employees at hotels in the Kansas City, Mo., area and in Branson, Mo. Kristin Dougherty, 51, of Ellisville, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to five years in federal prison without parole.
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April 26, 2011

Blue Springs man indicted for money laundering
KANSAS CITY - A Blue Springs, Mo., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for money laundering. Thomas D. Hutchens, 40, of Blue Springs, was charged in an eight-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
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Jury convicts Elk Creek man of illegal firearms, growing marijuana
SPRINGFIELD - An Elk Creek, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of illegally possessing firearms and growing marijuana. Richard D. Price, 57, of Elk Creek, was found guilty of both charges contained in a June 22, 2010, federal indictment. The jury also returned a verdict that Price must forfeit all of the guns and ammunition that was seized to the government.
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April 22, 2011

Warrensburg woman pleads guilty to embezzling $140,000
from church, organization

KANSAS CITY - A Warrensburg, Mo., woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing nearly $140,000 from a church and a church organization in a securities fraud scheme. Mary Earlene Judd, 60, of Warrensburg, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs on Thursday, April 21, 2011, to a federal information that charges her with forging the security instruments of an organization.
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April 21, 2011

Greenwood man indicted for child porn
KANSAS CITY - A Greenwood, Mo., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for receiving child pornography over the Internet. Andrew M. Jones, 28, of Greenwood, was charged in a three-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.
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KC man indicted for child sex trafficking, producing child porn, extortion
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for child sex trafficking and producing child pornography, which was discovered during an investigation into an alleged extortion and blackmail scheme. Corey M. McKinney, also known as “Chef FireFlame Corey,” 34, of Kansas City, was charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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Former teacher, girls track coach sentenced for Internet child porn
KANSAS CITY - A former girls track coach in Frontenac, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to receive child pornography over the Internet. Kurtis W. Neely, 32, of Raymore, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright to five years in federal prison without parole. Neely was formerly employed as a track coach at St. Joseph Academy in Frontenac, and prior to that, as a substitute teacher and coach in Kansas City-area schools.
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St. Joseph man sentenced for meth conspiracy in Buchanan County
KANSAS CITY - A St. Joseph, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in Buchanan County, Mo. Charles Whitson Corbitt, 25, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, to 10 years and three months in federal prison without parole.
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Grain company owners indicted for $3 million scheme to defraud
more than 100 farmers

KANSAS CITY - The owners of a Gallatin, Mo., grain company were indicted by a federal grand jury today for a scheme that defrauded more than 100 northwest Missouri farmers of more than $3 million. Daniel F. Froman, 66, and his wife, Pauline K. Froman, 65, both of Gallatin, were charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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April 20, 2011

Two Jackson County men indicted for child porn
KANSAS CITY - Two Jackson County, Mo., men were indicted by a federal grand jury today in separate and unrelated cases related to child pornography. Andrew E. Collier, 47, of Independence, Mo., was charged in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. David R. Brown, 54, of Raytown, Mo., was charged in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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April 19, 2011

Wichita man sentenced on charged related to $100,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips
KANSAS CITY - A Wichita, Kan., man was sentenced in federal court today on charges related to passing more than $100,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips at the Argosy Riverside Casino. Zhe Li, also known as "Kevin," 38, of Wichita, formerly of Kansas City, Mo., a naturalized U.S. citizen from China, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to two years and nine months in federal prison without parole.
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U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips
U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips presented ICE Special Agent James Kanatzar (center) with the Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award.
Roger Kemp (left) and Anna Kipper Rea (right), parents of the victims for whom the award is named, participated
in the annual Crime Victims' Rights Week event.

ICE agent honored for service to victims, combating child exploitation
KANSAS CITY - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, presented the Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award today to Special Agent James “JD” Kanatzar, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), for his outstanding service to crime victims. Today’s award ceremony was part of an annual event hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and VictimNet, a coalition of victim service providers and others committed to meeting the needs of crime victims in Jackson County, in conjunction with the observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
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Springfield man sentenced to 40 years for producing child porn
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting children by taking photographs of two minors as they engaged in various sex acts. William Baker, 40, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 40 years in federal prison without parole.
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April 13, 2011

Armenian national pleads guilty to $229,000 fraud, identity theft conspiracy
KANSAS CITY - An Armenian man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a fraud and identity theft conspiracy. Artur Galstyan, 33, an Armenian national residing in Aurora, Colo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to the charges contained in a Jan. 25, 2011, federal indictment.
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Joplin husband, wife sentenced for health care fraud
SPRINGFIELD - A Joplin, Mo., husband and wife who operated five long-term residential care facilities in southwest Missouri were sentenced in federal court today for health care fraud. Robert J. Dupont, Jr., 66, and his wife, Laverne D. Dupont, 75, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays. Robert Dupont was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Laverne Dupont was sentenced to five years of probation.
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April 12, 2011

Lee's Summit man charged with parental kidnapping following Amber alert
KANSAS CITY - A Lee’s Summit man was charged in federal court today with parental kidnapping after taking his non-custodial children to Canada. Steven M. Evans, 35, of Lee’s Summit, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., with taking two minor children to Canada with the intention to obstruct the lawful exercise of the parental rights of their mother and his ex-wife, Kelly Evans.
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Webb City man sentenced for meth conspiracy;
smuggled meth ingredients from Thailand

SPRINGFIELD - A Webb City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Today=s sentencing is the result of Operation Rhino Trap, an investigation targeting Internet purchases of pseudoephedrine from Thailand for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine. Operation Rhino Trap has resulted in several indictments in the Western District of Missouri as well as other states. Marcus A. Herrell, 36, of Webb City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 15 years in federal prison without parole.
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Wisconsin man sentenced for Independence bank robbery
KANSAS CITY - A Wisconsin man was sentenced in federal court today for robbing an Independence, Mo., bank. Glen Duplessis, 53, of Wisconsin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole.
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Independence man pleads guilty to bank robbery
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to aiding and abetting the robbery of an Independence bank. Michael D. Smythe, 50, of Independence, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to the charge contained in an Oct. 21, 2010, federal indictment.
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April 8, 2011

KC man charged with producing child porn in alleged blackmail scheme
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with producing child pornography, which was discovered during an investigation into an alleged blackmail scheme. Corey M. McKinley, 34, of Kansas City, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. McKinley remains in custody pending an initial court appearance on Monday, April 11, 2011.
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April 7, 2011

St. Joseph man sentenced for illegal firearms after shooting at officers
KANSAS CITY - A St. Joseph, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing firearms that he used to shoot law enforcement officers during a standoff at his home. Christopher A. Punzo, 42, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to 10 years in federal prison without parole, the maximum statutory sentence.
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April 6, 2011

Kansas man, woman indicted for stealing handguns
SPRINGFIELD - A Kansas man and woman were indicted by a federal grand jury today for stealing 36 handguns from a Springfield, Mo., business. Scott R. Fonseca, 31, of Olathe, Kan., and Amanda White, 19, of Gardner, Kan., were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo.
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April 5, 2011

Seven more men charged in cocaine conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD - Seven additional defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury today along with a Nixa, Mo., man and a Springfield, Mo., man who had previously been charged with distributing large amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Springfield area. Carlous S. Horton, 35, of Nixa, Christopher Holmes, 25, Tony A. Cloke, 25, Antonio G. Davis, 28, Cleveland D. Larmore, 23, Demarius D. Marshall, 28, Mark A. Robinson, 25, and Ryan D. Roepke, 32, all of Springfield, and Kristopher W. Farmer, 24, of Lebanon, Mo., were charged in a six-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.
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Three men indicted for armed robberies at five grocery stores
KANSAS CITY - Additional charges have been filed against three defendants for their roles in a string of armed grocery store robberies. Jeremiah Kraushaar, 31, of Bethany, Mo., and Javon Turner, 35, and Finis Richardson, 35, both of Kansas City, Mo., were charged in a 13-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City.
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March 31, 2011

Former university president indicted for embezzling $1.5 million
KANSAS CITY - The former president and CEO of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB) has been indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling more than $1.5 million from the university. The alleged fraud scheme included unauthorized compensation payments as well as reimbursements from the university for personal expenses and fraudulent charitable contributions. The indictment also charges her with tax violations and money laundering. Karen L. Pletz, 63, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a 24-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, March 30. Pletz was the president and CEO of KCUMB and was a member of the board of trustees of KCUMB from 1995 until December 2009.
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Read the Indictment

March 30, 2011

Lebanon woman indicted, more charges filed in sex trafficking, murder-for-hire;
Victim tortured as slave, forced into sex trafficking and forced labor

KANSAS CITY - A Lebanon, Mo., woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury, joining her husband and four other co-defendants who were indicted last year for their roles in a commercial sex trafficking conspiracy. The federal indictment alleges that a young, mentally deficient woman was sexually abused and tortured for several years at a Lebanon residence, and forced to work as an exotic dancer at local strip clubs. Today’s indictment also contains additional charges against the original defendants related to a murder-for-hire scheme, witness and victim tampering and witness retaliation, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and child pornography. Marilyn Bagley, 45, along with her husband Edward Bagley, Sr., also known as “Master Ed,” 43, and Michael Stokes, also known as “The Rodent,” 62, all of Lebanon, Mo., and Bradley Cook, also known as “PutHer2GoodUse,” 32, of St. Louis, Mo., were charged in an 18-count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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Polo woman sentenced for $414,000 bank theft
KANSAS CITY - A Polo, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $414,000 from Bank Northwest, where she was employed in Polo and Hamilton, Mo. Laurine K. Calvert, 56, of Polo, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 23 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Calvert to pay restitution to Bank Northwest.
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March 24, 2011

St. Joseph man pleads guilty to bank fraud; embezzled $769,000 from employer
KANSAS CITY - A St. Joseph, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to bank fraud related to a scheme to steal more than $769,000 from his employer. Glenn Wade Muir, III, 45, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge contained in a Sept. 8, 2010, federal indictment.
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Former Nevada postmaster pleads guilty to sex-trafficking conspiracy,
admits torturing woman coerced as sex slave

KANSAS CITY - A Wheatland, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a sex-trafficking conspiracy in which a young, mentally deficient woman was coerced into being a sex slave for several years while she was tortured in a trailer home located in a wooded area in Lebanon, Mo. Dennis Henry, 51, of Wheatland, formerly the postmaster of Nevada, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. Henry also pleaded guilty to transporting the victim across state lines for sexual activity.
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March 23, 2011

KC man sentenced for making threats against psychologist
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for making threats against a psychologist as part of his effort to receive Social Security disability benefits. Tyrone L. Holman, 32, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to three years and four months in federal prison without parole.
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March 22, 2011

Former county assessor sentenced for mail fraud; failed to assess her own property
Husband sentenced for conspiracy to defraud bank, insurance company in false cattle theft claim

SPRINGFIELD - The former Christian County Assessor and her husband were both sentenced in federal court today in two separate but related cases. Sandra Bryant-Littles, 51, of Clever, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to four months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $2,080 in restitution to Christian County. Her husband, Lonnie Utah Littles, 63, also of Clever, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 15 months in federal prison without parole.
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Independence man sentenced for attempting to distribute child porn
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today on charges related to attempting to distribute child pornography over the Internet. Kyle Shadoe McClure, 22, of Independence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to eight years and four months in federal prison without parole.
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Prior child sex offender sentenced to 40 years for child porn
KANSAS CITY - A Sugar Creek, Mo., man who is a prior child sex offender was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to distribute and receive child pornography over the Internet and for possessing child pornography. Martin A. Cordry, 48, of Sugar Creek, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright to 40 years in federal prison without parole.
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KC man sentenced for armed bank robbery
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for using a firearm to rob Commerce Bank about a year ago. Derrick T. Hubbard, 21, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to seven years in federal prison without parole.
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March 18, 2011

KC man charged with possessing loaded firearm at St. Pat's parade
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with illegally possessing a loaded handgun at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Kansas City. Michael C. Glover, 21, of Kansas City, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in a criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City.
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Criminal Complaint

March 17, 2011

Jury convicts Columbia man of marijuana conspiracy
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia, Mo., man has been convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in Boone County, Mo. Eric Scott McCauley, 29, of Columbia, was found guilty on Wednesday, March 16, 2011, of 29 counts contained in an April 3, 2009, superseding indictment.
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March 16, 2011

KC man pleads guilty to drugging 13 children, videotaping molestations
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was found guilty, after entering a plea of no contest in federal court today, to drugging and molesting 13 child victims, with some of the sexual abuse videotaped, over a four-year period. James Phillip "Phil" Edwards, 61, of Kansas City, pleaded no contest to all 21 counts contained in an April 7, 2010, federal indictment and U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple entered a judgment of guilty on all counts.
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Ava man pleads guilty to transporting a minor for illicit sex
SPRINGFIELD - An Ava, Mo., man pleaded guilty today to transporting a minor across state lines for illicit sex on what would have been the second day of his jury trial in federal court. Shane Jay Fleetwood, 41, of Ava, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr, interrupting a jury trial that began yesterday.
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March 14, 2011

Nixa, Springfield men charged with distributing large amounts of cocaine
SPRINGFIELD - A Nixa, Mo., man and a Springfield, Mo., man were charged in federal court today, in separate but related cases, with distributing large amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Springfield area. Carlous Horton, 35, of Nixa, and Christopher Holmes, 25, of Springfield, were charged in separate criminal complaints that were filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo.
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Horton Criminal Complaint
Holmes Criminal Complaint

March 10, 2011

Project Safe Childhood
Convicted sex offender sentenced to 40 years
for receiving, possessing child porn

KANSAS CITY - A La Plata, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for possessing and receiving child pornography over the Internet. Jeffrey Michael Powell, 32, of La Plata, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to 40 years in federal prison without parole. Powell is a registered sex offender with a 2003 conviction in Illinois for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
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Former bank president sentenced;
Scheme forced bank to close, FDIC paid $5.1 million in losses

KANSAS CITY - The former president of Hume Bank in Bates County, Mo., was sentenced in federal court for making false statements to the FDIC as part of a bank fraud scheme that caused such significant losses that the bank was pushed into insolvency. Jeffrey W. Thompson, 40, of Hume, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, to six years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Thompson to forfeit to the government $300,000, which represents proceeds from the fraud scheme, or his residential property.
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March 9, 2011

Raymore man pleads guilty to $2.2 million investment fraud scheme
KANSAS CITY - A Raymore, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a $2.2 million investment fraud scheme. Carl R. Todd, 58, of Raymore, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
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Springfield man pleads guilty to charges related to $500,000 fraud scheme
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to a scheme in which he defrauded a Springfield woman of more than $500,000. Kenneth Edward Godat, 40, of Springfield, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England to a federal information that charges him with tax evasion and with structuring financial transactions in order to evade federal reporting requirements.
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Water district clerk pleads guilty to mail fraud scheme
KANSAS CITY - The former clerk of two Bates County, Mo., public water districts pleaded guilty in federal court today to a mail fraud scheme in which she embezzled up to $77,870 from the districts. Valerie Jill Berry, 36, of Butler, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to all of the charges contained in an April 7, 2010, federal indictment.
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Project Safe Childhood
KC man pleads guilty to child porn

KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to Internet child pornography. Michael James Sheets, 45, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty to the charges contained in a June 15, 2010, federal indictment.
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March 8, 2011

Overland Park woman pleads guilty to embezzling $400,000 from employer in bank fraud scheme
KANSAS CITY - A Overland Park, Kan., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a bank fraud scheme in which she embezzled nearly $400,000 from her Harrisonville, Mo., employer. Tammie Lynn Cowell, 37, of Overland Park, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge contained in a federal information.
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March 7, 2011

Columbia man, KC woman indicted for coerced sex trafficking of adult, minor victims
KANSAS CITY - A Columbia, Mo., man and a Kansas City, Mo., woman have been indicted by a federal grand jury for human trafficking after both an adult victim and a minor victim allegedly were sold into prostitution. Eric Gathings, also known as “Pulu,” 36, of Columbia, and Brandy Key, also known as Brandy Wheeler, 39, of Kansas City, were charged in a seven-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, March 1, 2011.
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March 4, 2011

Jury convicts Monett man of meth conspiracy, firearms violations
SPRINGFIELD - A Monett, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and illegally possessing firearms. Roberto Rodriguez, 26, of Monett, was found guilty of five counts contained in a May 12, 2010, federal indictment.
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March 3, 2011

Williamsburg man sentenced to 15 years for meth conspiracy
JEFFERSON CITY - A Williamsburg, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. David Wayne Forbis, also known as AFat Daddy,@ 51, of Williamsburg, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole.
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March 2, 2011

Former secretary indicted for embezzling $285,000 from Masonic organization
KANSAS CITY - A Prairie Village, Kan., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for embezzling nearly $285,000 from the York Rite Masonic Bodies. Kirk McDaniel, Jr., 74, of Prairie Village, was charged in an 18-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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Jury convicts Stover mayor of lying to federal agent about
adulterated drinking water samples

JEFFERSON CITY - The mayor of Stover, Mo., was convicted of charges related to violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Scott Allen Beckmann, 41, of Stover, was found guilty of misprision of a felony and of making a false statement to a federal agent.
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March 1, 2011

Arkansas man indicted for two armed bank robberies
SPRINGFIELD - A Fort Smith, Ark., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for two armed bank robberies in Springfield, Mo., and Joplin, Mo. Robert Bruce Knepper, 45, of Fort Smith, was charged in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.
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Springfield man indicted for child porn
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for receiving and distributing child pornography. Jeremy Edward Nebeker, 40, of Springfield, formerly of Dallas County, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.
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February 28, 2011

Chemist sentenced for possessing cyanide
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing potassium cyanide. Hessam S. Ghane, 61, of Independence, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Kathryn H. Vratil of the District of Kansas to eight years and one month in federal prison without parole.
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February 24, 2011

Human Trafficking Rescue Project
Springfield man pleads guilty to sex-trafficking conspiracy, admits torturing woman coerced as sex slave

KANSAS CITY - A Springfield, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a sex-trafficking conspiracy in which a young, mentally deficient woman was coerced into being a sex slave for several years while she was tortured in a trailer home located in a wooded area in Lebanon, Mo. James Noel, 45, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charge contained in a Sept. 7, 2010, federal indictment.
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February 18, 2011

Operation Blockbuster
Jury convicts five defendants of multi-million dollar drug-trafficking conspiracy;
Mexican drug cartel smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to KC

KANSAS CITY - Five Kansas City, Mo., residents were convicted by a federal jury today for their roles in one of the largest cocaine trafficking rings in the Kansas City area. Operation Blockbuster dismantled a local drug-trafficking organization that smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine worth millions of dollars from Mexico to distribute in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Operation Blockbuster was a multi-agency investigation that also involved the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas.
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February 17, 2011

Arkansas man charged with armed bank robbery
SPRINGFIELD - A Fort Smith, Ark., man was charged in federal court today with the armed robbery of Great Southern Bank in Joplin, Mo. Robert Bruce Knepper, 45, of Fort Smith, was charged with bank robbery in a federal criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. Knepper allegedly stole $404,350 at gunpoint from Great Southern Bank on Sept. 16, 2010.
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Complaint & Affidavit

February 16, 2011

Independence physician pleads guilty to $1 million drug-trafficking conspiracy
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., physician has pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a conspiracy to illegally distribute more than $1 million worth of OxyContin and oxycodone. Bruce Layne Baker, 54, of Independence, pleaded guilty on Jan. 27, 2011, to his role in a conspiracy to distribute OxyContin and oxycodone. Baker, an osteopathic physician, also pleaded guilty to health care fraud.
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Former Branson West business owner pleads guilty to filing false tax return
SPRINGFIELD - A former Branson West, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing a false federal income tax return after earning more than $4 million but paying only $1,000 in taxes over a five-year period. Randall L. Pennington, 51, of Houston, Texas, formerly of Branson West, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, to a federal information charging him with filing a false U.S. income tax return.
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February 15, 2011

KC, Lee's Summit men indicted for $1.4 million drug-trafficking conspiracy, stealing nearly 100,000 pills in pharmacy burglaries
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man and a Lee’s Summit, Mo., man were indicted by a federal grand jury today for a $1.4 million drug-trafficking conspiracy that included nearly 100,000 pills that were stolen in a series of pharmacy burglaries, as well as illegally possessing several firearms. Dustin Dean-Salem Kinnison, 27, of Kansas City, and Tufue Tua, 31, of Lee’s Summit, were charged in a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City.
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New York man indicted for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods
KANSAS CITY - A Brooklyn, New York, man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for his role in a conspiracy to sell counterfeit purses and other items. Mamadou A. Diallo, 52, of New York, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
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February 14, 2011

KC tax preparer indicted for false tax returns, stealing refunds from clients
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., tax preparer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for filing fraudulent tax returns over a five-year period while paying herself exorbitant fees by stealing the inflated refunds from her clients, which resulted in a tax loss to the United States of more than $100,000. Vera Irene Smith, also known as Vera S. Bradley, 39, of Kansas City, was charged in a 56-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011.
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February 11, 2011

Columbia man sentenced to 18 years for attempted sexual exploitation of a minor
SPRINGFIELD - A Columbia, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to sexually exploit a minor by manufacturing child pornography. John Steven Green, 28, of Columbia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 18 years and four months in federal prison without parole.
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Springfield man sentenced for $4 million fraud scheme
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced for his role in a nearly $4 million fraud scheme. Douglas Todd Feller, 38, of Springfield, was sentenced on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 28 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Feller to pay $738,941 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Feller will also be required to pay an as-yet-undetermined amount of restitution not to exceed $3,882,987 to Yakima Products, Inc.
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Joplin business owner indicted for defrauding partner
SPRINGFIELD - A Joplin, Mo., woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling from her former business partner. Peggy S. Newton, 38, of Joplin, was charged in a 25-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Thursday, Feb. 10.
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Grand Jury Indictment

February 10, 2011

Ozark man sentenced to 30 years for producing child porn
SPRINGFIELD - An Ozark, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for producing child pornography. Timothy Kemner, 35, of Ozark, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 30 years in federal prison without parole.
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Fulton man indicted for distribution of heroin resulting in death of Fulton woman
JEFFERSON CITY - A Fulton, Mo., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for distributing heroin, which resulted in the death of 28-year-old Summer Bond, also of Fulton. Trevonn Lionel French, 36, of Fulton, was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City.
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February 9, 2011

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips
U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips and Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar announced federal charges against seven members
of the Click Clack Gang, as well as a joint effort to combat gang activity, at a press conference on Feb. 9, 2011.

Seven gang members indicted for crack cocaine conspiracy;
Federal indictment highlights partnership to combat gang activity

KANSAS CITY - Seven Kansas City, Mo., men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and for illegally possessing firearms. Kevion Darnell Bifford, also known as “2 Gunn Kevi,” 24, his brother, Kevin Levance Jackson, 22, Prince Earl Clarence Gilbert, Jr., 24, Charles V. Williams, also known as “Cortez Hanley,” 23, Gary D. Smith, 44, Taj Runnell Griffin, 19, and Deron Andrew Scott, 23, all of Kansas City, were charged in a 12-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, Feb. 8 2011.
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Grand Jury Indictment
Gang Sentencing Enhancement
Bifford Detention Motion
Gilbert Detention Motion
Griffin Detention Motion

February 7, 2011

Northland woman pleads guilty to $700,000 bank fraud scheme
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a bank fraud scheme in which she stole more than $700,000 from her employer. Kim A. Brown, 46, of Kansas City-North, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to a federal indictment that contains 16 counts of bank fraud.
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Springfield man sentenced for Internet fraud; investors lost more than $1 million
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for using the Internet to promote a real estate scheme in which investors lost more than $1 million. John Michael Sheehan, 51, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to five years and four months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Sheehan to pay $1,038,670 to 21 individual victim investors.
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February 4, 2011

Northland man indicted for producing child porn
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for producing child pornography. Cory E. Stahl, 31, of Kansas City-North, was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.
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(Download Indictment )
(Download Detention Motion )

Jury convicts Northland man of multi-million dollar drug-trafficking conspiracy, faces life in federal prison
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in a multi-million dollar drug-trafficking conspiracy, as well as related money laundering and firearms offenses. A co-defendant was also convicted for his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Rasheed G. Shakur, also known as “Charles G. Cook,” 42, of Kansas City-North, was found guilty of six counts contained in a Sept. 16, 2009, superseding indictment. Latoyce Stockman, 33, also of Kansas City, was found guilty of one count related to the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Among 30 additional defendants in this and related cases, 27 have pleaded guilty, one is incarcerated in Mexico, and two remain fugitives.
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February 3, 2011

Independence man sentenced for illegally possessing firearm;
Led police police on high-speed chase, crashing and burnign vehicle with three children

KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm. He was arrested following a high-speed police pursuit in which his vehicle overturned, catching fire, with three small children in the back seat. An Independence, Mo., police officer received an award for valor for rescuing the vehicle’s passengers. Earl C. Watson, 27, of Independence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to three years and 10 months in federal prison without parole.
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January 31, 2011

KC woman pleads guilty to stealing Hurricane Katrina benefits
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving $28,220 in federal housing assistance to which she was not entitled, including funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Zaimah K. Muhammad, 31, of Kansas City, formerly of New Orleans, La., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to a two-count federal information that charges her with theft of government money.
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January 28, 2011

15 defendants indicted for $1 million meth conspiracy
KANSAS CITY - Fifteen defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a $1 million conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, as well as related charges for identity theft and illegally possessing firearms. Clark L. Vanosdoll, 33, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Frank G. Rendon, 42, Steven G. Beedle, 25, Angela D. Hays, 34, Juan C. Molina-Pezina, also known as “Chopis,” 30, Jeffrey S. Lewis, also known as “JJ,” 44, Michael S. McCollum, 60, Mitzi S. Damron, also known as Mitzi Webster, 36, Roxie A. Boling, 28, and Terry E. Deck, 49, all of Kansas City, Mo., Melinda R. Kermer, 25, of Raytown, Mo., Brad D. Webster, 46, of Osceola, Mo., Elmer Guzman-Valencia, 28, and Simon Heredia-Torres, also known as “Luis,” 33, both Mexican nationals with no known address, and Anthony J. Petty, 30, address unknown, were charged in a 20-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2010.
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January 27, 2011

Independence man pleads guilty to child porn
KANSAS CITY - An Independence, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing child pornography. Chance A. Palmer, 23, of Independence, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to a federal information that charges him with possessing child pornography.
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January 24, 2011

Jury convicts Wichita man on charges related to $100,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips
KANSAS CITY - A Wichita, Kan., man was convicted by a federal trial jury today on charges related to passing more than $100,000 worth of counterfeit casino chips at the Argosy Riverside Casino. Zhe Li, also known as “Kevin,” 38, of Wichita, formerly of Kansas City, Mo., a naturalized U.S. citizen from China, was found guilty of one count of structuring financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements and one count of making a false statement to a government agency in order to receive food stamps.
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January 21, 2011

Statement regarding Kansas City Port Authority
KANSAS CITY - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, released the following statement today:
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January 20, 2011

KC man, woman charged with bank robbery
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man and woman were charged in federal court today with robbing First Federal Bank in Grandview, Mo. Richard A. Davis, 20, and Kiaira D. Minor, 20, both of Kansas City, were charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. They remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011.
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Three Sedalia residents indicted fro conspiracy to distribute meth
JEFFERSON CITY - Three Sedalia, Mo., residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Pettis County, Mo. Eric Kristen Wiser, 32, Priscilla Alice Yunt, 66, and Russell Neal Livengood, 49, all of Sedalia, were charged in a two-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.
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January 19, 2011

St. Robert husband, wife plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs over the Internet
KANSAS CITY - Two former St. Robert, Mo., residents have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs through Internet pharmacy Web sites. Anthony D. Holman, 35, and his wife, Arcelia Holman, 43, both formerly of St. Robert, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, to the charges contained in an Aug. 6, 2008, federal indictment.
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January 14, 2011

Illinois man sentenced for soliciting a minor for sex
JEFFERSON CITY - An Illinois man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to entice an Eldon, Mo., minor to engage in sexual activity. Travis Lee Gerdt, 29, of Godfrey, Ill. was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to five years in federal prison without parole.
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Six Cooper County residents indicted for conspiracy to manufacture meth
JEFFERSON CITY - Six defendants, primarily residents of Boonville, Mo., have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Justen Andrew Hedden, 38, his wife, Rosslyn Elaine Hedden, 31, her mother, Cheryl Ann Russell, 55, Matthew Farrar Tidwell, 26, and Jason Scott Robertson, 34, all of Boonville, and Wendy May Tate, 34, of Bunceton, Mo., were charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.
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Clinton man sentenced for fraud scheme;
At leat 23 stores sustained $242,000 in losses due to fraudulent purchases

KANSAS CITY - A Clinton, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for a fraud scheme that victimized at least 23 stores in a three-state area, resulting in more than $242,000 in losses. Jason M. Hendricks, 34, of Clinton, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to five years in federal prison without parole.
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January 13, 2011

Jefferson City man sentenced for illegal firearm
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm. Tommie Willie Towns, 41, of Jefferson City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to four years and three months in federal prison without parole.
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Jefferson City woman indicted for two bank robberies
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City, Mo., woman was indicted by a federal grand jury today for two bank robberies in December. Dwashan Trakese Thompson, 38, of Jefferson City, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City.
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Three defendants indicted for drug-trafficking conspiracy
JEFFERSON CITY - Three defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana in Boone, Callaway and Cooper counties. Jason Randall Holloway, 30, of Columbia, Mo., Damon Reed Lower, 35, of Fulton, Mo., and Jaime Cerros-Perez, 29, a citizen of Mexico residing in the Kansas City, Mo., area, were charged in a five-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City, Mo.
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January 11, 2011

Husband, wife plead guilty to fraud, must cease 'sovereign citizen' filings
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., husband and wife pleaded guilty in federal court today to mail fraud and conspiracy related to the husband’s bankruptcy proceedings. Roderick Moore, 35, and Amber Catrece Moore, 36, both of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to the charges contained in an Aug. 20, 2010, superseding indictment. Roderick Moore pleaded guilty to mail fraud and Amber Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
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January 10, 2011

North Carolina man sentenced for $225,000 scheme to defraud the federal government
KANSAS CITY - A North Carolina man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the federal government of more than $225,000. Jeffrey Blake, 55, of Cornelius, N.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, to 14 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Blake to pay $225,213 in restitution.
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Mexican national sentenced for possessing meth, firearm
KANSAS CITY - A Mexican national has been sentenced in federal court for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and for illegally possessing a firearm. Sergio Mendoza-Medina, 41, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, to 11 years and three months in federal prison without parole.
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January 6, 2011

Northland man sentenced to 15 years for attempted sex trafficking of a child
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for the attempted commercial sex trafficking of a child. Steven C. Albers, 42, of Kansas City-North, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan to 15 years in federal prison without parole.
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Former president pleads guilty to embezzling from union local at Fort Leonard Wood
SPRINGFIELD - The former president of the National Association of Government Employees local at Fort Leonard Wood pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling from the union. Garold W. Lawson, Sr., 67, of St. Robert, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to the charge contained in a federal information.
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KC man pleads guilty to attempting to receive child porn
KANSAS CITY - A Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to receive child pornography over the Internet. Marshall A. Blue, 24, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan to the charge contained in a Feb. 9, 2010, indictment.
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January 5, 2011

St. Joseph man sentenced for child porn
KANSAS CITY - A St. Joseph, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to distribute child pornography over the Internet. Stephen Christopher Jackson, 41, of St. Joseph, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to eight years and four months in federal prison without parole.
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January 4, 2011

Former pawn shop owner sentenced for selling stolen firearms
KANSAS CITY - The former owner of a Kansas City, Mo., pawn shop was sentenced in federal court today for selling stolen firearms and for manufacturing a sawed-off shotgun. Robin A. Smith-Theis, 49, of Blue Springs, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to two years and seven months in federal prison without parole.
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Former Lansing police officer, school board member indicted for attempted sex with a minor
KANSAS CITY - A former Lansing, Kan., police officer and school board member was indicted by a federal grand jury today for attempting to entice a minor for illicit sex. William Brian Duncan, 40, of Leavenworth, Kan., was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Duncan on Dec. 30, 2010, and includes an additional charge related to traveling across the state line.
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Updated January 8, 2015