Alabama Man Pleads Guilty in Tornado Fraud Case

November 17, 2011

A west Alabama man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming disaster benefits following the April 27 tornadoes in Alabama.

Officials say 47-year-old Robert Lee Spires entered his plea before U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler to two counts of attempted wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8.

Prosecutors say Spires received $1,114 for rental assistance and $471 for personal property assistance from FEMA after falsely claiming that he was renting a house in Tuscaloosa when it was damaged by a tornado. He was not eligible for the assistance because he did not live at that address and did not own any property there.

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