Laplace Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced that MICHEGEL BUTLER, age 41, a resident of LaPlace, Louisiana, was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to a conspiracy to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.
U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced BUTLER to 12 months and one day incarceration and ordered restitution in the amount of $65,300, to be paid jointly and severally with his co-defendant.
According to court documents, beginning in or about September 2010, BUTLER and his co-defendant, recruited claimants, requested their personal information and submitted or caused to be submitted fraudulent GCCF claim forms generated online and transmitted to the GCCF. The claim forms falsely stated that the claimants worked as non-owner captain/deckhands on a shrimp boat in Venice, Louisiana and suffered economic loss. Based on the fraudulent documentation, the GCCF issued approximately $65,300 to undeserving individuals. BUTLER and his co-defendant shared in the claims proceeds.
This case was brought as part of this District’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (“NCDF”), a nationwide initiative to protect available funds and assistance for those victims of both natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and the recent Gulf oil spill. If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, you can contact the NCDF by either calling the hotline at (866) 720-5721, faxing (225) 334-4707, emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office praised the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans was in charge of this prosecution.