Home Jacksonville Press Releases 2012 Florida Federal Grand Jury Returns New Indictments and Sentencing Updates for Fraudulent Oil Spill Claims...

Florida Federal Grand Jury Returns New Indictments and Sentencing Updates for Fraudulent Oil Spill Claims

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 10, 2012
  • Northern District of Florida (850) 942-8430

PENSACOLA, FL—A federal grand jury has returned four indictments charging residents of Northwest Florida with filing fraudulent claims with the trust fund established for Gulf Coast oil spill victims. The grand jury’s indictments charge Daniel Marlow, 45, of Panama City, Florida; Jakima T. McCorvey, 36, and April McKinney, 31, both of Pensacola; and Dana Dias, 49, of Destin, Florida. The indictments were announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The indictment charging Marlow alleges that, in September 2010, Marlow submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, claiming lost earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to the indictment, Marlow submitted documentation claiming that he lost work at Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar as a result of the oil spill, when, in fact, Marlow was no longer employed at Sharky’s at the time of the spill. The indictment charges Marlow with wire fraud for his fraudulent claim. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and restitution. Marlow is scheduled for jury trial in Panama City before U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak on July 23, 2012.

The indictment charging McCorvey alleges that, between October and December 2010, McCorvey submitted multiple fraudulent claims to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, claiming lost earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to the indictment, McCorvey submitted a fraudulent letter from Howard Johnson Hotel claiming that she had worked as a housekeeper at Howard Johnson, when, in fact, McCorvey did not work for the hotel. The indictment charges McCorvey with both mail fraud and wire fraud for her fraudulent claims. If convicted, McCorvey faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution on each count. McCorvey is scheduled for jury trial in Pensacola before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier on September 4, 2012.

The indictment charging McKinney alleges that, in October 2010, McKinney submitted a fraudulent business claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, claiming lost earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to the indictment, McKinney misrepresented the extent to which she earned income from her cleaning business and the effect the oil spill had on her opportunities for work. The indictment charges McKinney with mail fraud for her fraudulent claim. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. McKinney is scheduled for jury trial in Pensacola before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier on August 6, 2012.

The indictment charging Dias alleges that, in October 2010, Dias submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, claiming lost earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to the indictment, Dias submitted documentation claiming that he lost income as a manager at Dollar General as a result of the spill and that he was employed during 2009 by Extended Stay American Hotels, when, in fact, Dias was not a manager at Dollar General prior to the oil spill and had not been an employee during 2009 with Extended Stay American Hotels. The indictment charges Dias with wire fraud for his fraudulent claim. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. Dias is scheduled for jury trial in Pensacola before Chief U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers on August 6, 2012.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Updates on Previous Indictments

The indictments of three other Floridians were announced in February of this year for fraudulent claims made in 2010, following the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. All three defendants have since pleaded guilty. One has been sentenced and two others await sentencing later this summer.

Gabrielle Sawyer, 26, of Pensacola, was indicted last year for mail fraud and tampering with a witness. On March 26, 2012, Sawyer appeared before Senior U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier and pleaded guilty to both counts. In pleading guilty, Sawyer admitted that she submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, falsely claiming lost earnings at local convenience store. Sawyer further admitted to attempting to convince a witness to testify falsely before the grand jury after Sawyer learned she was being investigated. On June 12, 2012, Sawyer was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Jennifer J. Lee, 39, of Destin, was indicted last year for wire fraud as a result of her fraudulent Gulf Coast Claims Facility claim. On May 2, 2012, Lee pleaded guilty. In pleading guilty, Lee admitted that she submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, falsely claiming that she lost earnings at South Bay Ace Hardware & Lumber Company due to the oil spill. Lee faces up to 20 years in prison, five years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers on a date to be announced by the Court.

Robert Thayer, 38, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, was indicted for wire fraud as a result of his fraudulent Gulf Coast Claims Facility claim. On May 2, 2012, Thayer pleaded guilty. In pleading guilty, Thayer admitted that he submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, falsely claiming that he lost earnings at Destin West Resort due to the oil spill. Thayer faces up to 20 years in prison, five years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers on August 14, 2012.