Four Springfield residents indicted for identity theft, counterfeit check conspiracy
Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four Springfield, Mo., residents were indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in an identity theft and check-counterfeiting conspiracy. The scheme involved false identification documents that were used to negotiate more than $100,000 in counterfeit checks, including thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent checks drawn on a Greene County Sheriff’s Department bank account.
John Dennis Sedersten, 33, Max R. Snodgrass, 31, Bryan Thomas Ray, 32, and Karen Ann Harris, 45, all of Springfield, were charged in a 25-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.
Today’s indictment alleges that, from April 13 to Nov. 29, 2008, Sedersten, Snodgrass, Ray and Harris participated in a conspiracy in Greene and Jasper Counties to steal checking account information and personal identity information from various victims. That information, the indictment says, was used to produce counterfeit identification documents and counterfeit personal, business and organizational checks that were cashed or used to make purchases. Some of the counterfeit checks were drawn on actual accounts, while others bore fictitious account information.
According to the indictment, Sedersten used counterfeit identity documents to negotiate nine counterfeit checks drawn upon a bank account held by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. Sedersten allegedly made purchases, including several John Deere mowers, totaling more than $34,000.
During the conspiracy, Sedersten allegedly created 27 different identification documents on his laptop computer.
Ray allegedly used a counterfeit identity to attempt to cash a $1,175 fraudulent check at a local Staples store. When a detective from the Springfield Police Department apprehended him in the parking lot, the indictment says, Ray attempted to destroy the forged check by chewing and swallowing it.
Ray was using Harris’ GMC Yukon on Oct. 28, 2008, the indictment says, and was parked in front of a Springfield residence. Ray allegedly possessed 25 counterfeit Missouri driver’s licenses and non-drivers identification cards, each bearing his photograph, as well as the names, addresses, and personal identifiers of other persons from a black notebook on the front seat of the vehicle. Harris allegedly provided her driver’s license to help create six of the 25 counterfeit documents.
Some of the personal identity information used during the conspiracy was stolen during a home burglary, the indictment says.
In addition to the conspiracy, Sedersten is charged with nine counts of bank fraud, one count of counterfeit securities and one count of transporting fraudulently-taken property across state lines. Snodgrass is also charged with two counts of bank fraud and eight counts of counterfeit securities. Ray is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of illegally possessing counterfeit identification documents. Ray and Harris are charged together in one count of bank fraud.
Today’s indictment also includes forfeiture allegations, which would require all four defendants to forfeit to the government any property obtained from the commission of the alleged offenses, including $108,599. Sedersten, Snogdrass and Ray would also be required to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including four laptop computers, several printers and several external drives.
Whitworth 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 Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Green County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office