This is Henry, the largest recorded Triceratops fossil found. Volunteers at the Missouri Institute for Natural Science are using 3-D printers to make his missing bones. Henry is on display at the Missouri Institute for Natural Science. (Photo provided by Matt Forir, museum director) in Missouri.

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A Greene County man was sentenced to spend a year in federal prison after he admitted to fraudulently applying for and collecting COVID-19-relief funds and stealing money from the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, a private museum just south of Springfield and home of Henry the Triceratops. 

Daniel Pomeroy pleaded guilty to two counts of the class C felony of wire fraud in November of 2023. He was sentenced on Tuesday, June 18, by U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough.

According to online court records, Bough gave Pomeroy a one year sentence for each count, but ordered the sentences be served concurrently. After prison, Pomeroy will have three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay about $77,000 in restitution. 

Pomeroy admitted to submitting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications in his name for two businesses that did not exist, according to federal court documents. Pomeroy successfully obtained two PPP loans that totaled at least $38,000. 

In addition, Pomeroy admitted to fraudulently transferring nearly $78,000 from the Missouri Institute of Natural Science’s account with Simmons Bank to his own accounts.

The Missouri Institute of Natural Science is home to hundreds of animal, plant, and mineral specimens and is free to the public. (Photo provided by Mike Forir)

Matt Forir, the director of the Missouri Institute of Natural Science, said in an earlier interview that Pomeroy was in no way affiliated with the museum or any of its staff or volunteers.

“We had no idea who this guy was. He hacked into Simmons Bank,” Forir said in November of 2023. “Our accountant is the one that caught the problem. We then alerted the bank to the scam. It was us that tipped them off. So then the bank asked us if we could call the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. We did, and that’s what kind of got the investigation started.”

According to court documents, the museum discovered that from Sept. 1, 2021, to Dec. 6, 2021, $77,855 was transferred out of the museum’s account without authorization with another party fraudulently using the museum’s information.

There were approximately 60 fraudulent transactions associated with the account. Records provided by Simmons Bank showed several of the money transfers went through an entity known as “Wise” and the fraudulent money transfers were then sent to Pomeroy, the documents say.

Forir credited Barb Houser, the museum’s volunteer accountant and a board of directors member, for catching the fraudulent transactions. Pomeroy reportedly started out with small amounts that went unnoticed.

“This guy was hitting us for months,” Forir said. “It wasn’t until he got greedy and got one that was like $900, which that alerted our accountant.”

About Missouri Institute of Natural Science

The Missouri Institute of Natural Science Museum is located at 2327 W. Farm Road 190 and is open 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Admission is free and the museum is mostly staffed by volunteers. It houses hundreds of animal, plant, and mineral specimens, including Henry — the largest male Triceratops fossil uncovered, being at least 30 percent larger than other Triceratops found.

Learn more at the Missouri Institute of Natural Science Museum’s website and Facebook page.

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Hauxeda. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald