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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov../index.html


JUNE 1, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SPRINGFIELD MAN SENTENCED FOR BANK FRAUD,

TAX FRAUD SCHEMES


CONSPIRATORS PASSED MORE THAN $100,000

IN COUNTERFEIT CHECKS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today in two separate cases that charge him in a bank fraud conspiracy and a tax fraud scheme. He used false identification documents to negotiate more than $100,000 in counterfeit checks in the bank fraud conspiracy, and helped file fraudulent tax returns in order to receive tax refunds to which he and others were not entitled.


            Max R. Snodgrass, 32, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to four years and seven months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Snodgrass to pay $91,416 in restitution.


            On Feb. 5, 2010, Snodgrass pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge contained in a Sept. 9, 2009, federal indictment. Snodgrass also pleaded guilty to tax fraud.


            Snodgrass admitted that, from April 13 to Nov. 29, 2008, he participated in a conspiracy in Greene County, Mo., to steal checking account information and personal identity information from various victims. That information was used to produce counterfeit identification documents (such as driver’s licenses) and counterfeit personal, business and organizational checks that were cashed or used to make purchases. Some of the counterfeit checks bore fictitious account information, while others were drawn on actual accounts, including one belonging to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.


            Snodgrass used the counterfeit identification documents and checks on multiple occasions to fraudulently obtain property and money. Conspirators obtained (or sought to obtain) $108,599 during the course of the conspiracy.


            Co-defendants John Dennis Sedersten, 34, Karen Ann Harris, 46, and Bryan Thomas Ray, 33, all of Springfield, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the bank fraud conspiracy. Ray was sentenced on May 14, 2010, to four years and three months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $82,955 in restitution. Sedersten and Harris await sentencing.


            Snodgrass also admitted that, in a separate scheme, he assisted others to obtain fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service by filing false 2007 federal income tax returns.


            Snodgrass used his computer to create false W-2 forms for a sham business, claiming earnings and withholdings for employees who never actually worked for the business. Snodgrass and others involved in the conspiracy took the false W-2 forms to tax preparers and electronically filed federal income tax returns in order to receive large refunds resulting from the falsely reported withholdings.


            The total amount of the loss, actual and attempted, for the conspiracy was $15,417. The actual amount of fraudulent tax refunds paid as a result of the conspiracy was $10,572.


            These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. They were investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Greene County, Mo. Sheriff’s Office.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov../index.html