OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STOVER MAYOR, CITY OFFICIAL INDICTED
MAYOR CHARGED WITH COVERING UP
FALSE DRINKING WATER SAMPLES
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the mayor and public works superintendent in Stover, Mo., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Richard R. Sparks, 53, and Scott Allen Beckmann, 40, both of Stover, were charged in a 30-count indictment returned under seal on Thursday, April 15, 2010, by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City. That indictment was unsealed and made public today.
The federal indictment alleges that Sparks, the superintendent of the city’s public works department, falsified information related to water sample records that he submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. According to the indictment, the city is required to submit monthly water samples to be analyzed for bacteriological contaminants such as fecal coliform, and to conduct lead and copper sampling once every three years.
The indictment charges Sparks with 27 counts of making a false statement. Sparks allegedly submitted records to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources containing false sampling locations. Sparks submitted records to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that showed collection points for water samples taken at certain addresses from Sept. 19, 2006, to Dec. 18, 2007, the indictment says, although Sparks knew that he had not sampled at those addresses. The documentation also showed the collection point for lead and copper samples at certain addresses on July 16, 2007, the indictment alleges, when Sparks had not actually sampled at those addresses and the records he submitted were false.
The indictment also charges Sparks with two counts of making a false statement related to bacteriological water analysis samples that he submitted to the state, which he knew had been adulterated with chlorine bleach to prevent an accurate laboratory analysis of the samples.
Beckman, the mayor of Stover, is charged with one count of misprision of a felony. Beckman allegedly knew about Sparks’ alleged criminal activity but concealed it from an agent of the Environmental Protection Agency by denying any knowledge of it.
Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
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