Woman who lied to court about tornado damage sentenced
OKLAHOMA CITY —
She faked tornado damage to delay going to federal prison and now it's going to cost Misti Miller even more time behind bars.
Miller was sentenced to three months in federal prison after violating her probation in a case where she originally faced fraud charges. She was scheduled to self-surrender on May 28, 2013, but sent an email to her federal public defender that said her parent's home was destroyed by the May 19 tornado.
That email included a picture of a destroyed home she claimed was her parent's home where her children were supposed to live while she was in prison.
That was all a lie.
Miller's parent's home was not destroyed by the tornado and had little, if any, damage from the May 19 storm.
Fox 25 went by the home and talked with her parents who said they did not have any damage. After our report aired, the US Attorney's office requested a copy of it for their investigation into the false claims. A special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation also went by the home to document the lack of damage.
In court Thursday, Miller told US District Judge Timothy DeGiusti that she lied and took full responsibility for her actions. Miller said her personal home really was destroyed by a tornado in 2010 and the storm traumatized her children. Miller said after the May 19 and 20 storms she was worried her children needed more time with her to adjust following the severe weather.
Assistant US Attorney Mark Yancey disagreed. He called Miller's conduct "despicable." Yancey said Miller took advantage of the generosity of the court and the US Attorney's office, who didn't object to granting the one-month delay to Miller's prison sentence.
Yancey said Miller re-victimized the real victims of the May tornadoes and said caused her attorney to file a false document with the court. That attorney is no longer on her case and is not accused of any wrong doing. Judge DeGiusti said there is no evidence that attorney had any idea the information coming from Miller was false.
Yancey also said Miller's actions were not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but a thought out plan since she sent a picture of actual destruction to claim as her own.
Judge DeGiusti found Miller in contempt of court for her "deliberate, deceitful actions." He sentenced Miller to serve an additional 6 months in federal prison. That is the maximum amount of time allowed for a contempt charge.
Judge DeGiusti said he felt sorry for Miller's parents who wrote him a letter and said Miller should be embarrassed for the emotional toll her actions have taken on her parents.