NEW ORLEANS – A Slidell shrimper is facing a possible 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the Deepwater Horizon claim center of $192,000 by providing false income statements.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced today that Ronald Backes, of Slidell, pled guilty to defrauding the BP claims center of $192,000.

According to Polite’s office, Backes created fake receipts for non-existent shrimp sales which he used to receive a large settlement for economic damages from the Deepwater Horizon claims center. Backes admitted to falsifying his income by submitting fake paperwork showing he had made $156,000 a year. In addition, he admitted to prosecutors that he submitted false paperwork for an employee that he claimed made $36,000 per year.

The maximum penalty Backes faces for the fraud could possibly include 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines

Backes’ case is just the latest of a growing number of claimants who have been caught using false documents to receive inflated economic damage awards from the 2010 oil spill settlement. Many of those using false documents as the basis for their claims have faced clawback requests from the court and in some cases, such as Backes's, criminal convictions. In previous court filings, BP has maintained that the Seafood Fund, where many of the fraudulent claims have occurred, is beset by fraud.

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