A federal grand jury in Florida has reportedly indicted two state residents for mail fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft by using 34 assumed identities to file lost-income claims in the amount of $340,000 with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF ). United States v. Harvey, No. 11-20701 (S.D. Fla. 10/06/11).
After GCCF began processing claims from individuals and businesses seeking emergency financial payments for damages allegedly stemming from the August 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, defendants allegedly filed claims using the names and social security numbers of state residents but including addresses located throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. They purportedly opened claims, provided required forms and documentation, and instructed GCCF to issue payments to accounts established in a fictitious name in San Antonio, Texas.
The case is reportedly the largest criminal fraud indictment to date for purported lost-income claims filed in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Defendants could be sentenced to five years in prison for each of the 24 counts. See U.S. Attorney’s Office Press Release, October 6, 2011; BNA Daily Environment Report, October 12, 2011.