Des Allemands Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that DERRICK JOSEPH DURAN, age 29, of Des Allemands, pled guilty today to a three-count Indictment charging him with 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 that DURAN had worked as a deckhand on his fishing vessel for a 12 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.
DURAN faces a maximum prison term of 20 years, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $100 special assessment. U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo set sentencing for March 17, 2016.
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.