A Joplin man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to fraudulently receiving federal disaster benefits in the wake of the May 22, 2011, tornado.
Dustin Joe Showalter, 36, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool in Springfield to the charge contained in a federal indictment handed up Feb. 25.
Showalter admitted that he committed disaster fraud by making false statements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an application for disaster benefits. Showalter fraudulently received disaster benefits totaling $938 by claiming to have lived at a residence in Joplin at the time of the tornado, when he did not live there.
Under federal statutes, Showalter is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus of a fine of up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after a pre-sentence investigation is completed by the U.S. Probation Office.