MOORE, Okla. – Neighborhoods are coming back around in Moore, but the sounds of rebuilding are a reminder each morning of the tornado that tore through.
“Literally, we had military hummers, FBI in here escorting you. It was like a war zone. You couldn’t determine one house from another. You couldn’t tell. It’s hard to describe, said Michelle Evans. “I have survivor’s guilt.”
A tremendous burden that U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats says a 19-year-old Blake Self was quick to claim.
“Which was completely bogus,” said Coats.
Coats says the teen told FEMA he owned a home on SW 14th St.
“He did not own that residence. It was a lie,” said Coats.
Had he owned it, Evans would have been his neighbor, and her property sits right across from Plaza Towers Elementary School where seven children lost their lives.
“He didn’t endure any of it. He didn’t watch it happen. He didn’t watch these babies be pulled out. He didn’t go through it,” said Evans.
FEMA still gave the teen $12,885.45.
“He had lived there at one time,” said Coats. “The evidence was that he moved out in January of 2013 prior to the tornado.”
It wasn’t until the real home owners asked for FEMA’s help that the teen’s game was over.
“It’s sick,” said Evans. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. You don’t get a pass at all.”
He pleaded guilty and has to pay the government the money back.
In May, just in time for storm season, he’ll go to federal prison for three months.
“Three months?” said Evans. “Oh, I’d make it, well we’ve lived through it for a year now, so I’d make it a year. I would.”
NewsChannel Four tried reaching out to Self and his attorney.
Messages were not returned.