NEW ORLEANS – Fraud investigators in the Deepwater Horizon case are demanding a Cameron, La. deckhand pay back a damage award worth more than $71,000 he received as part of the oil spill settlement.
Jonathan Taylor is the latest target in an increased effort to root out fraud in the Deepwater Horizon claims center. According to Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau and Special Master Louis J. Freeh, Taylor falsely claimed to be the captain of his father’s shrimp boat in 2009 making him eligible for a captain’s damage claim. However, investigators said Taylor used falsified tax forms to misrepresent the true nature of his income by including revenue he did not make from fishing.
Taylor’s actual tax forms purportedly show he made the significant portion of his income in 2009 from other avenues outside of commercial fishing and that his father claimed significant income from shrimping. In fact, Taylor’s father, Doyle Taylor, filed his own Deepwater Horizon claim saying he had been the captain of the same vessel his son claimed to captain of and even used the same catch data in an attempt to receive a double recovery from the settlement fund, investigators say.
Investigators are also demanding that Minneapolis-based law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, return $17,832 in fees it received for handling the fraudulent Taylor claim. This marks the third Seafood Fund claim handled by Faegre Baker Daniels that has been deemed fraudulent by Freeh and his investigators.
Since the settlement was instituted in the case, several claimants have been accused of falsifying tax income information on their claims forms to greatly increase their claims awards, resulting in clawback requests from the court and in some cases criminal indictments. In previous court filings BP has suggested that the Seafood Fund, where these fraudulent claims have been uncovered, is rife with fraud.