Joplin man charged with defrauding tornado victim -

Joplin man charged with defrauding tornado victim

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- A Joplin man is accused of stealing a checkbook from a woman whose home was destroyed in the May 22 tornado and spending nearly $3,000 from her bank account.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 41-year-old Teddy Lane Lawson is charged in a 20-count indictment that was unsealed Wednesday. No phone number is listed for Lawson, and a public defender had not been appointed for him as of Wednesday,

Prosecutors say the woman gave Lawson permission to enter her property in June to remove scrap metal. The indictment says he took a checkbook from the property, then forged her signature on approximately 20 checks at stores in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma over several days in July.

Court records show Lawson is free on bond pending arraignment next week.

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