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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

St. John the Baptist Parish Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that CHARLIE ENGLISH III, age 33, a resident of LaPlace, was sentenced today for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan sentenced ENGLISH to a term of three years probation.  ENGLISH was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $257,400 to the GCCF.

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.  ENGLISH worked as a claims adjuster for the GCCF.  Beginning in or about September 2010, ENGLISH, provided fraudulent documentation to his co-conspirators who posed as claimants, and submitted and/or caused to be submitted, via the internet, false claims for loss earnings representing that the claimants were employed in a commercial fishing business before the oil spill when in fact the claimants did not work in the commercial fishing industry.  ENGLISH was to share in the claim proceeds in exchange for his assistance with the claims. Based on the fraudulent documentation, the GCCF issued approximately $257,400 to undeserving individuals.

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 disaster@leo.gov, or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA  70821-4909.

U.S. Attorney Polite 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 the prosecution.

Updated June 17, 2015