Des Allemands Man Charged with Mail Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill
NEW ORLEANS—U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that DERRICK JOSEPH DURAN, age 28, a resident of Des Allemands, was charged today in a three-count Indictment with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to court documents, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) made disaster assistance money available to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. On August 25, 2010, DURAN submitted a fraudulent application to the GCCF claiming that he worked as a deckhand on a fishing vessel during the year 2010, before the oil spill. Documentation in support of DURAN’s claim included a falsified letter from a commercial fisherman indicating the DURAN had worked as a deckhand on his fishing vessel for a twelve month period before the spill, when in fact he had not. Based on DURAN’s fraudulent application, the GCCF mailed checks totaling $28,000 to DURAN to which he was not entitled.
If convicted, DURAN faces a maximum penalty of twenty years, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $100 special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Spiro G. Latsis is in charge of the prosecution.