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Press Release

Joplin Man Sentenced for Bank Fraud Scheme; Targeted Tornado Victim

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for a bank fraud scheme that targeted a woman whose home was destroyed by the May 22, 2011, tornado.

Teddy Lane Lawson, 53, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to three years and two months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Lawson to pay $2,960 in restitution to First State Bank.

On April 18, 2012 Lawson pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Lawson received permission in June 2011 to enter the property of a woman whose home had been destroyed in the tornado, who is identified as "L.L.," in order to remove scrap metal. While he was on the property, Lawson stole a checkbook belonging to L.L., which contained blank checks.

Between July 5 and 9, 2011, Lawson used checks from the stolen checkbook to purchase merchandise from stores in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. Lawson specifically pleaded guilty to 10 counts that charged him with writing checks in Joplin, Springfield, Mo., and Webb City, Mo. Lawson admitted that he signed L.L.'s name (or a similar name) to 20 checks totaling $2,960.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.

Updated January 14, 2015