New Orleans Man Indicted for Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that GRAEGG L. HOLMES, age 42, of New Orleans, was charged today in a two-count Indictment with wire fraud related to the BP Oil Spill.
According to the Indictment, HOLMES is charged with filing a fraudulent application for relief relating to the April 20, 2010 explosion and fire which occurred on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico where British Petroleum (BP) had been drilling a well. After the disaster, BP established the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) to administer, mediate, and settle claims of individuals and businesses for losses incurred as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident. The GCCF began receiving and processing such claims in August 2010. The GCCF required any individual filing a claim to submit valid documentation as proof of loss or reduction in earnings due to the oil spill. HOLMES created false documentation related to a non-existent catering business that HOLMES claimed lost money because of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. The loss to BP from the fraudulent claims totals $33,900.
If convicted, HOLMES faces a possible maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment on each count, to be followed by three years of supervised release and restitution to the GCCF.
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.
U. S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant U. S. Attorney Patrice Harris Sullivan is in charge of the prosecution.