COVINGTON BUSINESSMAN, BAY E. INGRAM, SENTENCED IN CONNECTION WITH BP OIL SPILL FRAUD
BAY E. INGRAM, age 51, a resident of Covington, Louisiana, was sentenced today to 18 months imprisonment by United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente. INGRAM was also ordered to pay $463,271.31 in restitution, which he paid today, to the victims of his crimes; Rotorcraft Leasing Company, LLC (RLC) received $314,091.77 and British Petroleum, p.l.c. (BP) received $149,179.54.
According to court documents, INGRAM was a businessman who owned and operated Southeast Recovery Group (SRG), a company which provided disaster relief services in the aftermath of the oil spill due to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. INGRAM through his company SRG, provided a helicopter that was supposed to be used for oil spill response by representatives of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and also assisted in the construction of helipads at the Hopedale, Louisiana facility of British Petroleum, p.l.c. (BP). In the case of both the helicopter and the helipads, INGRAM through his company SRG, acted as a “middleman” between the supplier of the helicopter, and the companies responsible for the construction of the helipads, on the one hand, and BP, who was billed for cost of providing the goods and services, on the other hand. In the case of the helicopter, INGRAM was supplied the helicopter from his supplier, a company called Rotorcraft Leasing Company, LLC (RLC).
According to documents filed with the court, INGRAM arranged for the helicopter to be stationed at Hopedale from June through November 2010, but never had an agreement with BP to supply the helicopter after June 15, 2010. In an effort to get paid by BP, and to justify the amount of his unpaid invoices to BP totalling approximately $1.4 million, INGRAM falsified and forged documents, including a contract between his company and RLC. INGRAM also falsified flight logs and flight manifests for the helicopter.
INGRAM also caused the construction of five helipads at Hopedale at a cost of approximately $110,000. He then falsely represented to BP that his actual costs had been over $250,000, and billed BP for, and was paid, $303,000.
Throughout the period June 2010 and April 2011, court documents assert that INGRAM’s suppliers repeatedly contacted INGRAM in an effort to seek payment. Trying to dissuade his suppliers from contacting BP directly, INGRAM created false and fictitious e-mails, some in the names of real persons and some in the name of a non-existent or fictitious person.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case was being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Matt Chester and Eileen Gleason.
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