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FISCAL YEAR: 2011
1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Richard R. (Rick) Sparks
W.D.  Missouri  10-04021-01-CR-C-NKL
Richard 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.

On July 17, 2007, Sparks completed a lead and copper chain of custody record that listed samples purportedly collected from 10 locations in Stover, one of which was a residence at 301 W. 3rd Street. Sparks certified that each water sample was a “first draw,” and that “samples taken at single family residences were taken at kitchen or bathroom taps.” This certification by Sparks was false. At the time the record was completed by Sparks, the residence at 301 W. 3rd Street was vacant and there was no outside water supply.

April 15, 2010
Sparks was indicted on 28 counts of making false statements, violations of 18 U.S.C. 1001.
CITATION: 33 USC 1319
August 13, 2010
Sparks pled guilty to 1 counts.

Press Release

Department of Justice
NEWS RELEASE
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
August 13, 2010

STOVER CITY OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGES RELATED TO VIOLATING SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the public works superintendent in Stover, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Richard R. Sparks, 54, of Stover, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to a charge contained in an April 15, 2010, federal indictment.

Sparks, the superintendent of the city’s public works department, pleaded guilty to making a false statement. Sparks 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.

On July 17, 2007, Sparks completed a lead and copper chain of custody record that listed samples purportedly collected from 10 locations in Stover, one of which was a residence at 301 W. 3rd Street. Sparks certified that each water sample was a “first draw,” and that “samples taken at single family residences were taken at kitchen or bathroom taps.” This certification by Sparks was false. At the time the record was completed by Sparks, the residence at 301 W. 3rd Street was vacant and there was no outside water supply.

Under federal statutes, Sparks is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. 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, Daniel M. Nelson and Larry Miller. It was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

April 6, 2011
Sparks was sentenced to 60 months probation, 2 months home confinement, 2 weeks at a halfway house and ordered to pay a $5,000 federal fine.
STATUTE:
  • Title 18 U.S. Criminal Code (TITLE 18)

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