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Man charged for filing false disaster claim in Iowa



A 23-year-old Illinois man has been charged with fraud for filing a false claim on a vacant house in Cedar Rapids after a major storm caused widespread damage in the area in August.

Federal prosecutors say Tavonte Donnell Stewart of Chicago improperly received $5,927 in aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the August derecho, including more than $2,200 in rental assistance. He was charged last week.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Stewart was one of 16 people who applied for assistance related to the same property. When officials contacted the firm that owns the home, the property manager said it was vacant at the time of the storm and only sustained minor roof damage.

Investigators said Stewart also applied this fall for FEMA benefits on a property in Felton, California although that claim was denied.

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