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Oil & Gas

North Carolina Woman Admits to False Gulf Oil Spill Claim

February 02, 2011
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According to the Associated Press, a North Carolina woman has pleaded guilty to submitting false compensation claims and other offenses in the wake of the BP PLC Gulf oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and a California wildfire. Charlotte Johnson of Fayetteville admitted to two counts of submitting false claims to a federal agency, eight counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, records show. The 41-year-old was the first person in the country to be charged over a submission to the oil spill''s Gulf Coast Claims Fund Facility. Johnson submitted the claim for compensation under the identity of her deceased sister and falsely claimed to have been terminated by a New Orleans oyster processing company that she never worked for, prosecutors said. An indictment last year accused Johnson of a series of false claims, saying she sought compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for rental assistance and property damage caused by Hurricane Katrina for a home in New Orleans that she never owned and in which she never lived. They said she also submitted fake claims for property damage caused by 2007 wildfires in California and 2008 storms that affected Tennessee and Georgia. Court records show the claims totaled more than $75,000 and were submitted using different names. An attorney for Johnson declined comment. Johnson pleaded guilty at a hearing to false claims related to the oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and one related to the California wildfires. Prosecutors dismissed four other counts.

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