U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
(504) 680-3000
October 15, 2014

Slidell Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center of More Than $355,000

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that CASEY THONN (“THONN”), 35, a resident of Slidell, Louisiana, pled guilty today to a two-count Bill of Information which charged THONN with wire fraud in connection with claims THONN filed with the Deepwater Horizon Economic Claims Center (“DHECC”). Specifically, both counts of the Bill of Information charged THONN with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.

According to court documents, on June 24, 2012, THONN submitted multiple claims with the Seafood Compensation Program administered by the DHECC based on losses THONN allegedly sustained as result of the April 2010 oil spill. Subsequently, in early November 2012, the DHECC notified THONN that he was eligible to receive approximately $1,750.36 for these claims.

In turn, on December 3, 2012, THONN submitted Requests for Reconsideration of his original eligibility notices requesting his compensation be recalculated based on a false Federal tax return THONN provided to the DHECC. In that false submission, THONN claimed he received $156,000 of gross revenue from commercial shrimping sales in 2009. This fraudulent submission increased the defendant’s compensation from $1,750.36 to a total of $357,002.35 for these claims. Finally, in March 2013, THONN received a total of $357,002.35 from the DHECC which was caused by his fraudulent submissions, resulting in an illegal gain of $355,251.99.

THONN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a $ 250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. will sentence THONN on January 28, 2015.

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, flood, 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, e-mailing at disaster@leo.gov or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4904.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matt Coman.

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