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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 9, 2014

St. Tammany Man, Darrell Morris, Pleads Guilty To Charges Related To Filing Fraudulent Claims For Oil Spill Compensation

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that DARRELL MORRIS, age 55, a resident of Slidell, Louisiana, pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to a fraudulent application he made or caused to be made to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for financial assistance during the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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 or about October 1, 2010, MORRIS applied for disaster assistance funds, representing that he was employed in a commercial fishing business before the oil spill.  However, MORRIS had never worked in the commercial fishing business, and he submitted or caused to be submitted false documentation to establish his false earnings.  Based on his fraudulent application, MORRIS received approximately $75,000 to which he was not entitled.  

MORRIS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.  U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown set sentencing for February 12, 2015.

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 is in charge of the prosecution.

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Updated November 18, 2014