The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 16, 2012

Eight indicted for disaster relief fraud

JOPLIN, Mo. — The U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield today announced a federal grand jury’s indictment of eight people for fraudulently obtaining federal disaster relief benefits following the tornado in Joplin a year ago.

David Ketchmark, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the indictments that had been returned under seal by a federal grand jury May 8. The charges were unsealed and made public after several of the defendants were arrested and made initial court appearances.

Six of the defendants are identified as current Joplin residents: Karen Marie Parks, 37; Ronald Martell Irby, 29; Amber Nicole Peters, 22; Scott Bradley Olsen, 57; Wanda Gail McBride, 51; and Pamala Ann Shafer, 37. A seventh, Valerie Ann Jay, 41, reportedly is a former resident of Joplin currently residing in Borger, Texas.

The eighth defendant is identified as Shane D. Ellis, 36, of Lebanon, Mo.

Each of the defendants filled out Federal Emergency Management Agency applications for disaster benefits in the wake of the tornado on May 22, 2011, claiming to that their homes and property had been damaged or destroyed, the U.S. attorney’s office said.


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