State prisoner pleads guilty to tornado fraud
JOPLIN (AP) - A man already in state prison for drug trafficking admitted to trying to claim disaster benefits after the 2011 Joplin tornado.
Federal prosecutors said 35-year-old Gary L. Mitchell Jr., pleaded guilty Monday to making false statements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He admitted he claimed on a FEMA application for assistance that the tornado had destroyed his primary home. Mitchell owned the house but was renting it to someone else.
The Joplin Globe reported after his claim was denied, Mitchell offered his driver's license and a past-due tax statement to prove he lived at the home. However, the license was issued after the tornado, and the tax statement was mailed to his actual address in Carl Junction.