Former Moore Resident Who Sought Benefits Following May Tornado Pleads Guilty To Disaster Benefits Fraud
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – IRA ROBERT SCHILLING, 42, a former resident of Moore, Oklahoma, pled guilty today to committing disaster-benefits fraud in connection with a claim for benefits through the Air Force’s Safe Haven program following the May 2013 tornados in Moore, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the May 20, 2013, tornado affecting Cleveland County was declared a major disaster and the payment of disaster benefits to Tinker Air Force base civilian employees forced to evacuate their homes was authorized through the Safe Haven program. On June 26, 2013, Schilling signed an Air Force memorandum requesting evacuation allowances and benefits. In that memorandum he certified that he and his dependents evacuated their home after the storm and were residing at a Safe Haven location in Norman, Oklahoma. In court today, he admitted that the statement was false and that his false statement caused the Air Force to pay him money.
Schilling faces up to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and payment of restitution. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Hale and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dakota Davis.