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Press Release

KC Man Sentenced for Joplin Bank Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Robbed Two Banks on the Same Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for robbing a Joplin, Mo., bank with what appeared to be a handgun after he had just robbed a bank in Kansas earlier the same day.

Leland Scott Graham, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to eight years in federal prison without parole.

On Aug. 2, 2022, Graham pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. Graham admitted he stole $24,478 from Great Southern Bank in Joplin on July 19, 2021. Graham displayed what appeared to be a handgun and told one of the tellers, “This is a gun, do you want me to shoot you?”  He then turned to another employee and said, “Hurry up or I will shoot you.” Graham later told investigators he put a black-handled screwdriver in his waistband so that the tellers would think it was a firearm.

As he left the bank, Graham dropped more than $5,000 on the floor, which was recovered by law enforcement.

Several hours before he robbed the bank in Joplin, Graham had robbed Landmark National Bank in Louisburg, Kansas. Surveillance images from the banks indicated the same suspect was involved in both robberies. When the Joplin Police Department released surveillance images to the media and requested the public’s assistance to identify the bank robbery suspect, investigators received a tip identifying Graham. Investigators used Graham’s cell phone to trace his location to Kansas City, Mo.

On July 20, 2021, Kansas City, Mo., police officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Graham fled from officers in a Dodge van, leading them on a pursuit at speeds up to 95 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods. Graham stopped the van he was driving and, while trying to run from the police, tripped and fell, breaking his arm. Graham had almost $2,000 in his pocket. Officers searched the van and recovered almost $9,000.

After he was arrested, Graham told officers he had been on a five-day meth binge and had just taken $50 worth of crack cocaine. Graham told investigators he used some of the money stolen from Great Southern Bank to purchase the van that he was driving when officers attempted to stop him in Kansas City.

Graham has two prior felony convictions for bank robbery. He was convicted in 2004 of robbing Great Southern Bank in Joplin and First State Bank of Joplin and sentenced to 20 years in state prison. He was paroled on Jan. 6, 2020, and less than a year later stole a truck. He was sentenced for felony theft on Jan. 20, 2021, and while on probation seven months later committed the two bank robberies in Joplin and Louisburg on July 19, 2021. State charges remain pending in the Louisburg bank robbery.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Wan. It was investigated by the FBI, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Miami County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.

Updated March 1, 2023

Violent Crime