News and Press Releases

jury convicts stover mayor of lying to federal agent about
adulterated drinking water samples

March 2, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the mayor of Stover, Mo., was convicted by a federal jury today 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.

On Aug. 13, 2010, co-defendant Richard R. Sparks, 54, of Stover, pleaded guilty to making a false statement. Sparks, the superintendent of the city's public works department, admitted that he submitted a public water supply chain of custody record to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that contained a false sampling location.

Sparks bore primary responsibility for the collection and submission for analysis of water samples taken on behalf of the city. Federal law requires the city 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.

Beckmann knew about Sparks= criminal activity but concealed it from an agent of the Environmental Protection Agency– Criminal Investigation Division.

Beckmann also lied to a federal law enforcement agent on Dec. 19, 2007. Beckmann was asked whether he knew that Sparks was adding chlorine to the city drinking water samples that were submitted to the Department of Natural Resources. Beckmann falsely denied any knowledge of the activity, although he earlier had admitted at a board of alderman meeting that he knew Sparks was putting chlorine in the city’s drinking water samples because the city water couldn’t pass inspection.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey, ending a trial that began Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

Under federal statutes, Beckmann is subject to a sentence of up to eight years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jane Pansing Brown and Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency– Criminal Investigation Division and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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