The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 16, 2012

Springfield man posed as Joplin tornado victim

A federal judge today sentenced a Springfield man to almost six years in prison for writing more than $160,000 worth of bad checks to numerous businesses while falsely posing as a Joplin tornado victim.

U.S. District Judge Richard Dorr assessed Justin R. Compton, 31, five years and 11 months in prison without parole at a hearing in federal court in Springfield.

The defendant pleaded guilty to bank fraud in the case on Dec. 6. The U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield said he admitted that he had opened a bank account at Regions Bank in Ozark two days before the May 22, 2011, tornado in Joplin and then wrote checks on the account to pay for purchases at more than 50 businesses in Greene, Jasper, Lawrence, Barry and Taney counties.

The federal prosecutor’s office said Compton wrote the checks without having deposited any funds in the account. He convinced several businesses to take the checks by claiming to be a sergeant in the Army and a tornado victim.  

Compton must serve the sentence after completing a two-year term for violating the terms of his supervised release for two prior fraud convictions. The judge also ordered him to pay $46,665 in restitution.


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