Nine Sentenced for Filing Fraudulent BP Oil Spill Claims
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced today that nine individuals have been sentenced in federal court in the past two months for filing false claims with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) related to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sean D. Croft, 32, of Austin, Texas, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to mail fraud and failure to appear for trial. He submitted a GCCF claim falsely alleging he was let go from his job at Hooters of Pensacola Beach due to the oil spill, when in fact he had worked at the Hooters on Bayou Boulevard in Pensacola and was terminated for disciplinary reasons. After being charged, Croft fled before trial and was arrested later in Texas.
Crystal C. Brown, 30, of Decatur, Georgia, pled guilty to wire fraud for filing a false GCCF claim stating she and her cleaning service lost income and employment due to the oil spill and submitting fraudulently altered employment verification forms and false income statements. Brown also pled guilty to aiding and abetting wire fraud for helping her co-defendant, Jarrad J. Knox, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, file a fraudulent GCCF claim stating he was an employee of Brown’s cleaning service and was laid off due to the oil spill, neither of which was true. Knox was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $7,900 in restitution and Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $27,500 in restitution.
Kim Bonner, 54, of Pensacola, Florida, Angela M. Anderson, 32, of Tampa, Florida, Johnny G. Robinson, 52, of Pensacola, Alethea F. Snow, 41, of Fort Walton Beach, Bernisha M. McNabb, 57, of Fort Walton Beach, and Oran E. Dixon, 34, of Fort Walton Beach, pled guilty to conspiracy to file fraudulent GCCF claims involving an alleged construction company and cleaning service, both of which were not actually operating at the time of the spill. Robinson was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $56,300 in restitution, Snow was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $74,600 in restitution, and Dixon was sentenced to two weekends in jail as part of the terms of his five-year probation and ordered to pay $15,600 in restitution. Bonner, Anderson, and McNabb each received five years of probation and were ordered to pay $40,500, $71,900, and $43,200 respectively in restitution.
The cases resulted from investigations by the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Kim.