Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Justice Department Fraudulent Claims

Justice Department Fraudulent Claims

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U.S. Accuses Seven of Filing Fraudulent Oil-Spill Claims

By THOMAS CATAN

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it charged seven people with filing fraudulent claims to get money from the $20 billion Gulf of Mexico oil-spill compensation fund.

“The charges announced today send a strong message that we will not tolerate any fraudulent activity designed to profit from this tragic oil spill,” Assistant Attorney General Breuer said in a statement.

The size of the alleged frauds ranged from $9,000 to $180,000.

Kenneth Feinberg, who is administering the fund set up by BP PLC to pay claims, said he has forwarded about a dozen suspected fraudulent claims to the Justice Department and that his staff is reviewing as many as 2,000 more they think could be fraudulent.

Many of the defendants were accused of providing fake documents to support damage claims submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Some of the charges were filed in November.

An indictment filed on Thursday in the Southern District of Alabama, for example, alleged that Travis P. Sigler submitted fraudulent pay stubs to support a $13,000 claim. In other cases, defendants were accused of falsely claiming that they worked in businesses affected by the environmental disaster.

In another case, filed on Friday, the government charged Cam T. Hang with falsely starting that she was doing business as a seafood restaurant, C.H. Food Mart Inc., and fraudulently claiming that she had lost income as a result of the spill.

—Dionne Searcy contributed to this article.

Write to Thomas Catan at thomas.catan@wsj.com

source: U.S. Accuses Seven of Filing Fraudulent Oil-Spill Claims – WSJ.com

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