U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Louisiana
(504) 680-3000
August 19, 2015

Slidell Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS—U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that RONALD BACKES, age 48, of Slidell, was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to wire fraud relating to an application for financial assistance in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle sentenced BACKES to one year of home detention to be followed by four years’ probation. Judge Lemelle also ordered BACKES to pay $192,000 in restitution.

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) made disaster assistance money available to individuals affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. According to court documents, in August and September 2010 BACKES falsely represented to the GCCF that he earned $156,000 annually from a shrimping business and that another individual earned $36,000 annually as BACKES’s employee. To support these claims, BACKES created and submitted to the GCCF false receipts of shrimp sales. As a result of BACKES’s conduct, GCCF issued checks totaling $192,000.

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, floods, 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 70821-4909.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chandra Menon was in charge of this prosecution.

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