NATASHA WELLS SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING GULF COAST CLAIMS FACILITY
NATASHA WELLS, age 25, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, was sentenced today by U. S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle to two (2) years probation for mail fraud relating to a fraudulent application she made to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for financial assistance in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition to the federal probation, Judge Lemelle ordered WELLS to pay full restitution in the amount of $7,600 to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
According to court documents, the GCCF made disaster assistance money available to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. On September 25, 2010, WELLS applied for disaster assistance funds, representing that she was working at Danny’s Seafood before the oil spill. However, WELLS had never worked for Danny’s Seafood and that she submitted false documentation to establish that she was employed at Danny’s Seafood and to establish her false loss earnings. Based on WELLS’ fraudulent application, the GCCF issued two checks totaling $7,600 to which WELLS was not entitled.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service-New Orleans Field Division and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Loan “Mimi” Nguyen.
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