Couple arrested for fraudulently using funds meant for Mississippi tornado victims, officials report

Published 7:25 am Sunday, June 18, 2023

A man and woman have been arrested and are accused of taking money that was intended for tornado victims.

Jason and Carole Coffey are accused of lying about living in Amory when a tornado swept through the community. The Coffeys received money that was to be used for tornado victims.

An investigation of the Coffeys began in April, shortly after the EF-3 tornado ripped through the community on March 24.

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The Coffeys began to file fraudulent claims with different agencies, stating that they lived in a house inside the city limits of Amory and were receiving victim assistance, officials with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported.

One of the victims had not been able to receive assistance on her vehicle that was destroyed in the tornado, and another victim (same family) was unable to get assistance on her residence because the Coffeys had claimed to live there.

“When the true homeowners attempted to file a claim, they could not. After initially reporting this in April, they began to dig into the situation themselves,” the report said. “MCSO was contacted Wednesday night by some of the victims’ family, stating what had been going on since April. The family had also tracked down and located the couple in Aberdeen.”

On Thursday, officials from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested the Coffeys at a hotel in Aberdeen.

The Coffeys each face two counts of false pretense.

“Criminal Activity of any kind is frustrating and infuriating (among other emotions) to the victims, but this type of activity shows the depth of our “all about me” human nature,” Sheriff Kevin Crook posted on social media.  “I don’t know if criminals even consider the financial and emotional harm they cause people, especially in a case where someone has lost everything. I hope the family is able to get the help they truly need, and I hope justice is served in this situation.”