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Press Release

Christian County Jail Inmate Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Conspiracy Behind Bars

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an inmate in the Christian County Jail in Ozark, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to file fraudulent federal income tax returns while he was incarcerated and awaiting sentencing on another federal conviction.


John Dennis Sedersten, 40, who was an inmate in the Christian County Jail at the time of the offense, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charges him with leading a conspiracy to defraud the government.


Sedersten committed this offense, his fifth federal conviction, while incarcerated as he awaited sentencing on an earlier federal conviction for escaping from custody. Sedersten had walked away from a halfway house in Springfield, Mo., on Aug. 9, 2014. For that offense, he was sentenced on Thursday, March 31, 2016, to five years in federal prison without parole.


Sedersten was at the halfway house as part of his sentence for aggravated identity theft, to which he pleaded guilty in 2013. He was scheduled to be released about five months later, on Dec. 3, 2014. Sedersten also has prior federal convictions related to a counterfeit check-cashing scheme to which he pleaded guilty in 2010. Sedersten also has a 2002 federal felony conviction for counterfeit checks in the District of Nebraska.


By pleading guilty today, Sedersten admitted that, while he was incarcerated, he conspired with others to prepare and submit false federal income tax returns in order to receive refunds to which the conspirators were not entitled. Sedersten’s co-conspirators, who are not identified in court documents, were not inmates of the jail.


Sedersten admitted that he provided his co-conspirators with specific instructions regarding how to complete and file the false federal income tax returns, listing wages not received, federal income tax withholdings that had not been withheld, and false business expenses. Sedersten also provided his co-conspirators with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) under which they could report the false wages and withholdings. Most of the conspirators claimed to have received wages from JDS Enterprises, which is registered to Sedersten.


All false claims but one were halted by the IRS, and the one refund issued was recovered. Today’s plea agreement lists nine false claims filed by eight individuals. The government believes the total amount of the false claims submitted during the course of this conspiracy was $373,372.


Under federal statutes, Sedersten is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 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. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated April 5, 2016