405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Moore Tornado 'Victim' Charged with Disaster Benefits Fraud

15-Nov-2013

On May 20, 2013, a violent and deadly EF5 tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, killing 23, injuring 377, and causing an estimated $2 billion in damage. With more than a thousand homes destroyed and hundreds of people hurt, many Oklahomans qualified for disaster relief benefits.

Unfortunately, the aftermath brought forth additional heartache as looters scavenged the damaged homes and took what little the tornado victims had left. And looters aren't the only ones who took advantage of a tragic situation for personal gain. Others who did not suffer damage, or who suffered only minimal damage, filed fraudulent disaster benefits claim--a federal felony offense.

Earlier this month, one man accused of filing a false claim was indicted by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Ira Robert Schilling, 42, a former Moore resident, is accused of requesting benefits following the May 20 tornado, despite knowing that he was not entitled to them. He is indicted forr committing disaster benefits fraud and making false statements in connection with a claim for benefits, according to a United States Attorney's Office press release.

The release describes the allegations against Schilling as follows:

"Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the May 20, 2013, tornado affecting Cleveland County was declared a major disaster and the payment of disaster benefits was authorized. The indictment alleges that on June 16, 2013, Schilling signed a Department of Air Force memorandum requesting evacuation allowances and benefits on behalf of his dependents. In that memorandum, it is alleged, Schilling certified that after a May 20, 2013, storm he evacuated from a home in Moore, Oklahoma, and that he and two of his dependents were residing at the Safe Haven location in Norman, Oklahoma. Specifically, it is alleged that Schilling falsely submitted a travel voucher to the Air Force for costs associated with his relocation from Moore to Norman when he knew that no such costs had been incurred for a dependent-associated relocation. In addition, it is alleged that Schilling sent an email to the Air Force falsely claiming entitlement to extended Safe Haven benefits, including per diem payments, when he knew that he was not entitled to receive those benefits."

Disaster benefits fraud is defined in the United States Code along with the federal wire fraud statute found in 18 USC § 1343. Under this statute, wire fraud is penalized by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; however, penalties are enhanced when the violation occurs in relation to a federally declared disaster. In this case, the maximum prison term is 30 years in prison, and the maximum fine is $1,000,000.

If you have questions about federal white collar crimes, read more on our website or click here to contact an attorney who can help with your case.



All News

More News

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

Oklahoma County Jail Deaths Continue at Record-Breaking Pace
01-May-2017

Last year, the Oklahoma County Jail had a record breaking number o..

Finding Solutions for Mental Illness in Criminal Justice
28-Apr-2017

When it comes to mental health care treatment in the United States..

Catholic Charities Employee Charged with Embezzlement
24-Apr-2017

A Norman woman has been charged with three felony embezzlement cou..

14 Oklahoma Drug Offenders Have Sentences Commuted
17-Apr-2017

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has commuted the sentences of 14 inm..

OKC Man Pleads Guilty to Rape of Child and Murder of Newborn Son
14-Apr-2017

An Oklahoma City man has been sentenced to life plus 20 years in p..

Legislators Pull Felony Drug Possession Bill
10-Apr-2017

When Oklahoma voters filled their ballots in November, they approv..

×