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A former mayor of Willard pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing $300,000 from the fuel accounts of drivers of Prime Trucking, where he worked as a dispatcher.
Corey Hendrickson on Tuesday entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. On the same day, he also resigned from the Willard Board of Aldermen without giving a reason.
Hendrickson has been a driving force behind an effort to impeach the current mayor of Willard. Sam Snider faces an impeachment hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Willard Community Building at 222 W. Jackson St.
Federal Magistrate David P. Rush on Tuesday accepted Hendrickson’s plea, which left sentencing open, and recommended it be accepted by a full circuit judge.
Hendrickson faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Rush ordered a pre-sentencing investigation of Hendrickson’s past. That report plays a role in the sentencing determination.
Funds from accounts of 500 drivers
According to federal court filings, Hendrickson used his position as a fleet dispatcher to go into the fuel accounts of some 500 former Prime truck drivers and take the money that remained there.
Prime had placed the money in the accounts.
Hendrickson had the Social Security numbers of the drivers and used that information to access the accounts. That is the basis of the “aggravated identity theft” charge.
Hendrickson admitted to taking the money from Sept. 9, 2016, to Aug. 17, 2021. He used the stolen funds for personal expenses.
The exact figure is $298,738. It was from 1,078 fraudulent transactions.
The victims are the former truck drivers and Prime Trucking, said Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.
While the money taken belonged to Prime, Ledford said, the drivers had their identities stolen. It’s possible that at sentencing the judge could order some type of restitution for the drivers, Ledford said.
Snider appointed to board by Mayor Hendrickson, 5 years later unseats him
Hendrickson, who is represented by attorney Joe Passanise of Springfield, was released from custody on his own recognizance, meaning he did not have to post a bond.
The major issue at the impeachment hearing appears to be Snider’s firing of an interim city administrator the board had hired without his input.
The relationship between Snider and Hendrickson has changed since Hendrickson, as mayor, appointed Snider to the Willard Board of Aldermen in 2016. Snider was 20 at the time.
Five years later, Snider ran for mayor and beat Hendrickson, the incumbent, 187 votes to 161.
Snider most likely is Greene County’s youngest mayor ever and probably Greene County’s first Black mayor ever.
Snider has scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at The Hive, a restaurant at 304 E. Jackson St., Suite 5E, in Willard.