Mississippi Woman Pleads Guilty in Oil Spill Fraud Case

October 30, 2013

A Mississippi woman has pleaded guilty to a fraud charge involving $17,000 in oil-spill recovery money.

The Sun Herald reports Kim Marie Isabell is free on bond pending sentencing Jan. 28. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She pleaded guilty Oct. 22 in federal court in Gulfport.

Court records show Isabell filed her claim in Gulfport in 2010 and said the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon explosion caused her to lose money from her job at Isabell Janitorial Services.

Prosecutors said Isabell received a $12,000 check in the mail and $5,000 was wired to her bank in Gulfport as a final payment.

Trial dates have been set for three others. All are free on bond.

Prosecutors said Brandy Ann Jarrell, set for trial Nov. 22, filed her claim for BP money in Biloxi. She received a check in the mail for $28,800 on a claim reporting she lost wages from her job as a deckhand on the Mississippi Striker, an oyster boat, the indictment said. Her claim allegedly included receipts and employment letters that contained false information.

Court records show Joseph Anthony “Joey” Clements is set for trial Nov. 12 on a fraud charge alleging he received a check for $36,300 by making false statements that he lost money from his shrimping and fishing business. Clements’ indictment said his claim included documents of seafood sales and other paperwork that misrepresented the facts.

The trial of Vester Ray Bassham is now set for Dec. 2. He faces two counts of wire fraud that allege he received a total of $26,000 in false claims that he lost money as an electrician who provided services for Torguson Construction. He had been set for trial Oct. 7. His attorney asked for a delay so he could have more time to prepare a defense, court records show.

The claims were processed by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and paid with money from an oil-spill trust fund.

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