nixa contractor indicted for stealing $73,000
from elderly tornado victims
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Nixa, Mo., contractor who was hired to repair tornado damage at the Joplin residence of an elderly couple has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a fraud scheme in which he stole more than $73,000.
Terry Alton Parker, 57, of Nixa, was charged in a 23-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on May 8, 2012. The indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Parker’s arrest and initial court appearance in the Southern District of Texas. Parker remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.
Parker operated Alliance Contracting of Nixa, LLC, and was hired by a Joplin, Mo., resident to repair his house following the May 22, 2011, tornado. The victim, identified as “H.B.” in the indictment, was 84 years old; he was caring for his 88-year-old wife, who required home care and nursing assistance.
According to the indictment, Parker was at H.B.’s home on a regular basis from June 2011 through February 2012. Parker befriended H.B., the indictment says, and soon began using H.B.’s downstairs office area as his own office.
The indictment alleges that in November 2011, without H.B.’s knowledge or permission, Parker took a check from H.B.’s checkbook and wrote a check to himself for $38,640. Parker allegedly forged H.B.’s signature and deposited the check into his own bank account.
In November 2011, Parker persuaded H.B., who did not own a computer, to get Internet access at his home so Parker could order supplies online and conduct other business via the Internet. H.B. agreed to pay for the service. Parker allegedly set up an online banking account for H.B.’s checking account, without H.B.’s knowledge or permission, and directed all bank statements and other notifications from the bank to be delivered to Parker’s e-mail address. Parker allegedly established a PayPal account, without H.B.’s knowledge or permission, which was linked to H.B.’s checking account.
From Dec. 31, 2011, to Feb. 22, 2012, Parker allegedly initiated five wire transfers totaling $34,420 from H.B.’s checking account into the PayPal account. Most of those funds ($32,525) were then transferred from H.B.’s PayPal account to Parker’s own PayPal account. According the indictment, Parker used those funds to purchase $434 in jewelry on eBay, transferred $10,500 to his brother’s PayPal account, and transferred $20,167 to his own bank account.
The indictment also alleges that Parker falsely and fraudulently identified himself as H.B. in two telephone conversations with PayPal employees.
According to the indictment, Parker harassed H.B. immediately after H.B. reported his theft to the bank and filed a police report. Parker allegedly filed a complaint with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which he knew to be false, accusing H.B. of abusing his wife. Parker also allegedly attempted to intimidate one of H.B.’s caregivers who expressed concern regarding Parker’s taking advantage of H.B.
The federal indictment charges Parker with six counts of bank fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, three counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of witness tampering. The indictment also contains a forfeiture count, which would require Parker to forfeit any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including a money judgment of $73,060.
Ketchmark cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.