Seven Indicted in BP Oil Spill Fraud

A well-known Texas attorney and six others appeared in court today after being indicted on federal charges alleging their involvement in filing fraudulent BP oil spill claims.
Federal prosecutors and members of the Secret Service held a press conference in downtown Gulfport.
Well-known Texas lawyer Mikal Watts made a name for himself by taking on corporate giant BP Oil. He reportedly represented more than 40,000 people and their claims in the wake and aftermath of the disastrous BP oil spill in 2010.
On this day, the court room roles were swapped as Watts made his way to the federal courthouse in Gulfport for an initial appearance. He was indicted on a slew of federal charges alleging he and six others submitted false BP claims to the tune of $2.3 billion from the oil giant.
Prosecutors say that false claims were filed on behalf of people from four Gulf States, including Mississippi, alleging that in some cases the claimants were deceased. “Defendant Watts falsely claimed that each of these 41 victims was a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel. In fact, none of the 41 persons worked on a commercial fishing vessel or even in the seafood industry at the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said attorney Gregory K. Davis.
News 25 managed to catch up with Watt’s lawyer, Robert McDuff, after the hearing. Here’s what he had to say, “We’ve read the indictment. Mikal Watts and all the defendants have pled not guilty. I think once we have a trial and all the evidence comes out, it will be clear that Mikal and everyone in his office did not do the things in which they were accused and we’re looking forward to a trial.”
News 25 tried to catch up with Watts and his brother, who was also indicted, but they declined to comment.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft in connection with the case or have any knowledge of fraudulent claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, you are asked to contact the Gulf Coast Disaster Fraud hotline at 877-623-3423.

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