The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

April 10, 2013

Woman pleads guilty to storm-benefits fraud

A former Joplin resident pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to fraudulently obtaining disaster benefits after the May 22, 2011, tornado.

Amy C. Feagan, 28, changed her plea to guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield in a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri that would dismiss a second count she was facing. The latter alleged false statements to obtain the benefits. A federal grand jury indicted Feagan on the counts Dec. 13.

Under federal law, the defendant could be assessed up to 30 years in prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 for the conviction. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Feagan applied for disaster assistance in June 2011, a short time after the tornado that devastated Joplin and Duquesne. She met an inspector with the Federal Emergency Management Agency outside a tornado-damaged apartment building at 2948 McClelland Blvd. and claimed to have been living there when the tornado struck.

While she had lived at the address previously, she was not living there when the tornado struck, according to court documents. Instead, she was living in transitional housing in Springfield after a period of incarceration.

$11,764 fraud

BASED ON THE FALSE REPRESENTATIONS she made to a FEMA inspector, Amy Feagan was provided a payment of $11,764 to replace the contents of her home, including various household items for herself and her children.

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