SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Three former Joplin residents faces federal charges accusing them of diverting relief funds after the 2011 tornado.
The U.S. Attorney's office for western Missouri said in a release Monday that 31-year-old Herlana Latham and 36-year-old Christopher L. Smith, both of Memphis, Tenn., and 30-year-old John L. Williams, of Cairo, Ill., are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Latham was employed by a Joplin non-profit that distributed funds to landlords who rented to clients displaced by the May 2011 tornado. Prosecutors say Latham submitted fake applications for rental payments to Smith and Williams.
The indictment cites five specific checks, ranging from $1,050 to $2,000.
Online court records don't list lawyers Latham and Williams. Smith's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone message
The former fire chief of two districts is headed to prison after admitting to fraud, tax evasion, and stealing nearly $600,000 from his departments.
Eric Hinson will spend 35 months in federal prison and repay over $600,000. Hinson used fire district credit cards to pay for family vacations to Hawaii and Florida and business checks to pay for personal expenses. The investigation into the spending revealed he altered the fire department's books to cover up his theft.
KIRSKVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A former northeast Missouri college student who claimed she had terminal cancer has been sentenced to five years' probation for forgery.
KTVO-TV reports 23-year-old Victoria Marut, of St. Peters, must also do 100 hours of community service under the sentence imposed Monday in Adair County Circuit Court.
Marut was accused of fooling teachers and pupils at Kirksville schools during her internship as a Truman State University graduate student. Her shaved head and claim of having terminal non-Hodgkins lymphoma prompted an outpouring of cash and other assistance.
Marut pleaded guilty earlier to forging a doctor's signature.
For community service, Marut must speak in schools about the decisions she made and how they affected other people. She was also ordered to write letters of apology to students and teachers in Kirksville.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- An East St. Louis couple faces up to a year and a half in federal prison now that they’ve admitted scheming to steal nearly $47,000 in student loan money.
Antwayne Crumble and Danyelle McNeil pleaded guilty Monday in East St. Louis. Charges were conspiring to commit student loan fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Authorities say the couple used personal information from 28 friends and relatives. They took the information and applied to online undergraduate programs at the University of Phoenix for a year beginning in September 2008.
The pair then enrolled the fake students in classes and applied for student loans. They obtained loans for 16 of the applications.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area fire chief is facing federal indictment for allegedly stealing more than $140,000 in money from the impoverished fire district.
The indictment of Kinloch Fire Protection District chief Darran Kelley was announced Thursday. Federal prosecutors allege he stole money from taxes, grant funds intended for a new pumper truck and donations that were aimed at helping the district keep the truck.
He is also accused of falsely claiming disability.
The district went out of service in December.
Kelley appeared in federal court late Thursday and was ordered to spend the night in jail.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People who fraudulently sign petitions for ballot initiatives could face stiffer penalties under legislation passed by the Missouri Senate.
Senators voted 30-3 Thursday for a bill that would make petition signature fraud a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000.
Violators currently can face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The legislation now goes to the House.
The proposed criminal charges also could cover petition circulators who use trickery to obtain signatures or who knowingly submit forms with false signatures.
Charges also could be filed against those who hire petition circulators and should have known that the circulators were committing fraud.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Schnucks grocery store chain says it's found the source of a credit card fraud problem that has victimized dozens of people.
In a news release Saturday, Schnucks Markets Inc. announced that the computer forensic firm it hired discovered that a computer code was recording customers' credit and debit card numbers. The suburban St. Louis-based grocery says it's taken "comprehensive measures" designed to block further access.
CEO Scott Schnuck described what happened as a "cyberattack" and says the company is cooperating with authorities.
The chain learned March 15th that some customers had noticed unauthorized charges for credit cards they used at Schnucks. Shoppers were encouraged to pay with cash or checks until the fraud problem was resolved.
Authorities said many of the unauthorized charges were at out-of-state big box stores.
Tuesday, a federal jury convicted 71 year old Fred Robinson of all charges, including wire fraud and federal program theft.
Robinson's crimes were discovered during a federal investigation of former city treasurer Larry Williams' office. Williams hasn't been charged with any crimes.
Robinson will be sentenced in July.
His attorneys say he will appeal.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office said Monday that the state has agreed to settle the Securities and Exchange Commission case. Assistant budget director Abdon Pallasch (AB'-dun PAL-lish) says the state is promising better financial disclosures but admitted no wrongdoing.
The case revolved around more than $2 billion of municipal bonds sold from 2005 to early 2009 to pay state obligations to public-employee pension programs.
The SEC charged that the state did not adequately inform investors that a 50-year funding plan adopted in 1995 did not adequately cover pension liabilities.
The five pensions systems are now $97 billion in debt and a solution is lawmakers' top priority.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the appraisal was released Tuesday.
The museum purchased the land from former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. in 2006, paying Bosley and a business partner $875,000. The appraisal determined the land's value at about $260,000 at the time, and about $215,000 now.
The land was also contaminated, requiring up to $300,000 for environmental cleanup.
Robert Archibald resigned as museum president in December, though both he and Bosley denied that personal or political connections played a role in the deal.