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Missouri couple pleads guilty to sextuplets scam

Written by: Staff
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KANSAS CITY, Aug 23 (Reuters) A Missouri couple who collected gifts and cash after telling neighbours they had critically ill sextuplets at home today pleaded guilty to stealing by deceit and ordered to repay 3,700 dollars in donations they received.

Kris and Sarah Everson, who are childless, will not serve jail time if they stay out of trouble for four years, but a judge ordered them to perform 40 hours of community service, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor's office said.

The couple's story appeared in a local newspaper in Grain Valley, Missouri, prompting an outpouring of gifts but also raising doubts that ultimately exposed the hoax in March.

''They said there were circumstances beyond their control -- essentially a family member was after them -- that prevented them from having the children all together or for anyone to see them,'' said Grain Valley Police Chief Aaron Ambrose.

''This community holds its hands out to people truly in need. I think in the excitement, people overlooked whether this could really be true,'' Ambrose said.

REUTERS VJ BST0312

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