2:09 PM

Justin Compton scammed numerous business claiming to be a tornado victim (mug shot GCSO)

A man from Springfield who scammed several businesses and a bank in Ozark by claiming he was a victim of the deadly tornado that ripped through Joplin in May has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. 

Justin R. Compton, 31, admitted that he opened a checking account at Regions Bank in Ozark, on May 20, 2011. Compton never deposited any additional funds in the account, and wrote several bad checks to businesses in Greene, Barry, Jasper, Lawrence, and Taney counties by purchasing the goods and services using checks drawn on that bank account.

Federal prosecutors say Compton convinced businesses to accept the checks by falsely stating that he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army and a victim of the May 22, 2011, tornado in Joplin. Compton tried to convince bank officials to keep the account open by telling them he and his family were victims of the tornado.
Compton engaged in similar schemes using accounts he opened at Higher One Bank, Armed Forces Bank and Academy Bank. Compton wrote a total of 225 checks on the four bank accounts, with total losses of $160,672. The number of victims identified to date is well in excess of 50.
            Compton could face up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution when he is sentenced.