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Politics, Elections and Government

Former Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders Sentencing Scheduled For Next Month

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

One of the biggest names in Jackson County politics will be sentenced in federal court in a month for a kickback scheme.

Mike Sanders was Jackson County Prosecutor, county executive and former Missouri Democratic Party chairman.

He’ll find out how long he will spend in prison, how big a fine he might pay and how much of his ill-gotten gains will be forfeited on September 19.

In January, Sanders, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Sanders directed political committees with which he was associated to issue checks to individuals, even though they performed little or no campaign work, according to the government. After cashing the checks, the individuals would give the majority of the cash to Sanders, who used it pay bills and take personal trips to California and Las Vegas.

"The United States has not, as of this date, indentified specific assets that were derived from the offenses for which the defendant has been convicted," according a forfeiture motion filed last Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Because the government has been unable to find any assets Sanders acquired, it seeks a "personal money judgment" of no more than $40,000, according to the motion.

Sanders resigned one year after winning re-election as county executive. At the time, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family and practice law. After quiting, he did bill Jackson County $60,000 for legal services, according to county records.

Sanders could spend five years in prison and be fined a quarter-million dollars.

After Sanders is sentenced, his former chief of staff will appear in the same courtroom on Sept. 20.

Calvin Williford, 60, also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in the same scheme. The government is seeking a $50,000 "personal money judgment," according to court documents.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

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