Press release from the Missouri Attorney General's Office issued Tuesday afternoon.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that Cory Hutcheson, 35, of East Prairie, MO, today pled guilty to federal felony charges as part of a global resolution of federal and state criminal and civil cases pending against him. He pled guilty to wire fraud and illegally possessing and transferring the means of identification of others, in this case mobile telephone numbers, without lawful authority, and in connection with the commission of the state felony crime of Forgery. Sentencing has been set for February 28, 2019.
In addition to these federal charges, Hutcheson was also facing state criminal charges based on similar conduct, and a civil lawsuit initiated by the Attorney General to remove him from the Office of Sheriff.
Under the federal plea agreement, Hutcheson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine of $250,000 on the wire fraud charge and not more than 5 years and a fine of $250,000 on the transfer of identification information charge. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges. As a result of the plea, Hutcheson’s peace officer license was revoked and he agreed to resign as Sheriff no later than November 24, 2018.
“Mr. Hutcheson abused his power as Sheriff,” Hawley said. “Today’s agreement guarantees that he will no longer be able to serve as a law enforcement officer in any capacity. I am grateful we were able to work with the Department of Justice to resolve this matter.”
“Sheriff Hutcheson simply misused an important law enforcement tool for his own purposes and, as a result, invaded the privacy of hundreds without the appropriate legal process,” said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen.
These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol and were prosecuted in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Missouri.