Four people accused of disaster fraud and making false statements after the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado pleaded not guilty this morning in U. S. District Court in Springfield.
Court documents indicate Amber Nicole Peters, Karen Marie Parks, Scott Bradley Olsen, and Ronald Marshall Irby entered the not guilty pleas during an 11-minute session.
The four were among eight indicted by a federal grand jury.
Ms. Peters, 22, was indicted on one count of disaster fraud and two counts of making false statements to FEMA. She allegedly told FEMA officials between May 28 and September 26 that she lived at 2426 S. Picher Street, when that was not the case.
Ms Parks, 37, told FEMA she lived at 1502 S. Michigan Avenue. She has been released on a personal recognizance bond.
FEMA officials were told between June 10 and July 21 that Olsen, 58, lived at 2305 Virginia, when that was not the case. He was freed on a personal recognizance bond.
Irby told FEMA between June 13 and June 14 that he lived at 1823 W. 22nd, when that was not the case. He was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Earlier, not guilty pleas were entered by Wanda Gail McBride, 51, Joplin, on one count of disaster fraud and two counts of making false statements to FEMA, and Shane Ellis, 37, who was charged with single counts of disaster fraud and making false statements. Both entered not guilty pleas last week.
The government alleges that Ms. McBride claimed that between June 29 and Oct. 20, 2011, that she had moved into a $400 a month apartment, a claim that was false and designed to help her get FEMA payments after the May 22 Joplin Tornado.
Ellis claimed he lived in a home at 2115 Virginia that was hit by the tornado when, in fact, that was not his residence.
Also indicted by the grand jury were Pamela Ann Shafer, 57, who told FEMA she lived at 1705 Kentucky Avenue North Apartments, when that was not the case and Ann Valerie Jay, who told FEMA officials between May 27 and November 4 that she lived at 4915 E. 27th Street, when that was not the case.
The maximum penalty for disaster fraud is 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the maximum penalty for making false statements to FEMA is five years in prison.
All of the defendants are being represented by federal public defenders, according to court documents.