Fraud Charges Filed Against 5 in 2005 Kansas Fire

March 9, 2007

Attorney General Paul Morrison announced fraud charges Wednesday against five people accused of fraudulently trying to obtain grant or insurance money for a fire that destroyed a large portion of historic downtown Fort Scott two years ago.

Charles Parsons and Tim Allison are charged with committing a fraudulent insurance act for allegedly trying to deceive Farmers Mutual Insurance Company into concluding that a policy issued for a dentist office was in place at the time of the roaring, wind-whipped fire, even though it was not, Morrison said.

The felony carries a maximum penalty of 19 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Cindy Moyers is charged with making false information involving the dentist office, Morrison said. That felony carries a maximum penalty of nine months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Two others, Gregory Kuplen and Don Russell, are charged with one felony count each of presenting a false claim, after reporting to the Kansas Department of Commerce that their building was damaged in the fire, Morrison said.

Morrison said the two men were trying to secure grant money based upon misrepresentations and that they pursued payments for repair work that was never performed. They face a maximum penalty of seven months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

All five are scheduled to appear in Bourbon County District Court on March 27.

The March 2005 fire caused between $10 million and $15 million in damage. Ten buildings sustained structural damage and ten others had varying degrees of smoke and water damage.

Many were more than 100 years old.

State and federal officials were unable to determine the cause of the blaze, but investigators said they had no evidence that the fire was intentionally set.

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