Stephen S. Dennis, the former mayor of Grandview, MO, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to a wire fraud scheme in which he used a bogus charity to steal $35,000 in contributions from a local non-profit organization. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government will jointly recommend with the defendant a sentence of one year and one day in prison.
Dennis, 50, admitted to engaging in a scheme from December 12, 2011 to November 29, 2013, to solicit donations to a corporation called Matters of the Heart. He incorporated Matters of the Heart as a non-profit corporation under state law but falsely claimed it was a federally tax exempt 501(c)(3) corporation. Dennis also failed to apply for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS for Matters of the Heart, even though application instructions were given to him in December of 2011
Dennis also acknowledged defrauding the International House of Prayer and transferring $34,000 of the prayer ministry’s donations to his personal bank accounts. The donations were intended to provide relief for the poor and elderly in Grandview, but Dennis used them on his immediate family’s living expenses.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Assistant United States Attorney Roseann A. Ketchmark is leading the prosecution of this case. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.