HOUMA MAN SENTENCED FOR CHARGES RELATED TO FILING FRAUDULENT CLAIMS FOR OIL SPILL COMPENSATION
NICHOLAS BILLIOT, age 25, a resident of Houma, Louisiana, was sentenced in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to the maximum term of imprisonment of twelve (12) months, three (3) years supervised release upon completion of his term of imprisonment, and full restitution in the amount of $26,000 to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), relating to the defendant’s plea of guilty to a single count of mail fraud for filing false and fraudulent claims to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility for financial assistance during the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, the GCCF was established to provide disaster assistance funds to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010. The GCCF required business owners to file truthful claims for losses that occurred from the operation of their businesses at the time of the oil spill and to verify loss of income. In August and October 2010, the defendant filed false disaster assistance claims with the GCCF stating his business, Hope’s Home Improvement, operating in Terrebonne Parish, had incurred business losses in the amount of $5,000 per month as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Investigation by the United States Secret Service proved the defendant’s company never operated or conducted any business and all of his business receipts submitted to the GCCF were false and fraudulent. The defendant admitted he received $26,000 in GCCF funds as a result of his fraud.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Marvin Opotowsky.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org