405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW

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

Weatherford Resident with al Quaeda Ties Attended Chickasha Flight School
12-Feb-2018

A Saudi national living in Weatherford was indicted last week on c..

Actor Awaiting Child Porn Sentencing Found Dead
31-Jan-2018

Former "Glee" actor Mark Salling, who was awaiting sentencing on c..

Oklahoma City Man Arrested for Child Pornography Twice in Two Years
18-Jan-2018

Canadian County Sheriff's Deputies arrested an Oklahoma City man o..

Ex-Pharmacist Appeals Murder Conviction in Federal Court
01-Jan-2018

On May 19, 2009, two masked intruders attempted to rob the Reliabl..

Despite Denied Request, U.S. Justice Department Plans Inspection of Oklahoma County Jail
27-Dec-2017

There is no question that the Oklahoma County Jail has had more th..

Oklahoma County Jail Criticized for Lack of Transparency in Jail Deaths
23-Dec-2017

Last year, the Oklahoma County Jail broke a new record, although i..

ACLU Seeks Justice for Mom Serving 30 Years for "Failure to Protect"
12-Dec-2017

Life wasn't going well for Tolando Hall or her children in 2004. H..

Tulsa Man "Wins" Appeal, but Gets Longer Sentence as a Result
07-Dec-2017

It was a short-lived victory for a Tulsa County man convicted of r..

Yukon High School Teacher Charged After Allegations of Sex with Student
28-Nov-2017

Another Oklahoma teacher has been arrested and charged with a sex ..

Oklahoma District Attorneys Council to Implement Roadside Scanners to Catch Uninsured Motorists
22-Nov-2017

Oklahoma is believed to be the first state in the nation to implem..

×