Seven Indicted for Fraudulent BP Oil Spill Claims
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced today that Charles C. Martin, 40, and Joseph B. Doyon, 43, of Pace, Florida, and Marquis R. Seals, 34, and Bernard Cook, 39, of Pensacola, Florida, have appeared in federal court on an indictment for mail fraud and false claims related to the BP oil spill.
Martin, Doyon, Seals, Cook, and Johnny R. Smith, 29, of Pensacola, were indicted by the federal grand jury sitting in Pensacola and charged with mail fraud for submitting fraudulent claims to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) for lost income due to the 2010 BP oil spill. According to the indictment, all five falsely inflated their reported income as employees of Hooters of Pensacola Beach in their GCCF claims, submitting fraudulent documentation authored and provided by either Martin or Seals. Additionally, the indictment charges Martin and Tremayne C. Jamison, 42, of Atlanta, Georgia, with filing a false claim with the National Pollution Funds Center of the United States Coast Guard alleging that Jamison lost money when a contract between his company and Hooters of Pensacola Beach was cancelled due to the oil spill, when actually no such contract existed. Trial is set for October 7, 2013, before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lacey Collier.
U.S. Attorney Marsh also announced that Sean D. Croft, 31, of Pensacola, appeared in federal court yesterday on a separate indictment charging him with mail fraud for submitting a false claim to GCCF. According to that indictment, Croft falsely alleged he was let go from his job at Hooters of Pensacola Beach due to the oil spill because he actually worked at the Hooters restaurant located at Bayou Boulevard and Ninth Avenue in Pensacola, not the restaurant located on the beach, and did not lose his job because of the oil spill. Croft’s trial is set for October 21, 2013, before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson.
These charges result from an investigation by the United States Secret Service. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Kim.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial in a court of law.