Alabama Man Charged in Fraud Linked to April Tornadoes

October 24, 2011

A west Alabama man is facing federal fraud charges linked to benefit claims following the April 27 tornadoes.

Federal authorities say 47-year-old Robert Lee Spires received about $1,600 in improper assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the twisters. He allegedly sought money for rent and personal property at a house in Tuscaloosa even though he didn’t live there or have property.

The indictment says the man also sought payments for a car and appliances he didn’t own, but defense lawyer James Kendrick said Friday his client has already entered a not guilty plea.

A federal magistrate judge ordered Spires held on the charges. Kendrick says he is reviewing evidence turned over by prosecutors.

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