New Orleans Woman Sentenced For Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud In Aftermath Of BP Oil Spill
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that TANEHA D. SUMMERS, age 38, of New Orleans, was sentenced today for her role in a conspiracy to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.
U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle sentenced SUMMERS to five years’ probation and $95,847.19 in restitution 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 in the Gulf of Mexico. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. According to court documents, SUMMERS assisted by her co-conspirators, who posed as claimants, created claim forms with false representations and fraudulent documentation that they were employed in the commercial fishing industry at the time of the oil spill, when in fact, they were not. The fraudulent claims forms and documentation were all wired from a location in the Eastern District of Louisiana to the GCCF’s office in Dublin, Ohio. Based on these false representations, SUMMERS and her co-conspirators received approximately $134,600 for lost wages to which they were not entitled.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. Attorneys Julia K. Evans and Theodore R. Carter, III were in charge of the prosecution.