Austin man allegedly takes dead brother’s identity, faces fraud charges

Published 7:38 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Austin man already accused of storing weapons in his deceased brother’s home and using his brother’s name as an alias is again facing fraud charges.

Mark Myrl Burrell, 54, was charged Tuesday in Mower County court with three counts of felony theft for allegedly purporting to be his deceased brother, Steven, who died in January. According to a criminal complaint, Burrell used his brother’s name to access Social Security payments.

Burrell is currently wanted on a warrant.

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The complaint alleges that Burrell started a bank account at First Farmers and Merchants Bank in Austin using his brother’s name. In March, $1,737 was credited to that account in the form of a Social Security deposit. About three weeks later, that payment was pulled back by the Social Security Administration, but by that point, Burrell had reportedly withdrawn nearly all the funds, leaving the bank to pay the tab.

The complaint states that the bank president has contacted Burrell regarding the money he owes, but to date, no funds have been repaid and no agreement has been established.

This alleged offense comes on the heels of several other instances of Burrell using Steve’s identify or property.

Most recently, Burrell was charged with storing a a short-barreled shotgun — along with about 100 other firearms — at his brother’s forfeited home, where Burrell was reportedly squatting. Local authorities searched the 204 South Main St. home — which was filled with trash and animal feces — in June and seized the weapons. It is unclear why Burrell was storing the cache of weapons, including the illegal shotgun.

Burrell is set to appear in court for that charge in October.

Additionally, Burrell was charged with felony forgery in May for allegedly purporting to be his brother by signing several legal documents.

Burrell has entered not guilty pleas in both cases.