Louisiana Woman Pleads Guilty in BP Oil Spill Claim Fraud

June 7, 2013

A 36-year-old New Orleans woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to applications for financial help after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Dana Boente’s office said Wednesday that Rachell Thomas and about 22 co-conspirators created claim forms in which they falsely claimed to work for seafood restaurants and to have suffered financially through lost employment as a result of the spill. She and the others tried to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility a total of $188,500. Thomas obtained $8,000 as a result of the alleged scheme.

Thomas faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Sept. 18.

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