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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Joplin Man Sentenced for Disaster Fraud in Failed Attempt to Get Tornado Benefits


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 disaster fraud and making false statements to FEMA in a failed attempt to get federal disaster benefits following the May 22, 2011 tornado.

Scott Bradley Olsen, 58, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to 18 months in federal prison without parole, followed by two years of supervised release.

Olsen was convicted of two counts of a federal indictment in a trial that concluded on April 23, 2013.

Olsen originally filed for disaster assistance on May 26, 2011, claiming a Joplin residence was his secondary residence where he stored property that was damaged in the tornado, but FEMA found him ineligible for disaster assistance. After being denied, Olsen twice submitted documents to FEMA in an attempt to prove that the property was his primary residence. Olsen was again denied assistance on July 27, 2011.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.

Disaster Fraud Hotline

Anyone with information about disaster fraud related to the Joplin tornado should call the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721, the Joplin Police Department at 417-623-3131, or the FBI’s Joplin office at 417-206-5700.

Updated January 15, 2015