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Man faces white collar crime charges for fraud after oil spill

In Baton Rouge, the crimes that make the headlines are frequently violent or drug related. However, the crime of fraud also occurs regularly. Those who are facing white collar crime charges might not realize the level of penalties they face if they're convicted. But, corporate crime is taken very seriously by law enforcement.

After the BP oil spill many people sought to receive reimbursement for their losses and this left the disbursement wide open for white collar crime such as fraud. According to authorities, a man allegedly submitted false tax forms claiming the spill damaged his shrimping business. The amount wired to his attorney's account amounted to slightly more than $357,000 from the funds that were earmarked for those who had suffered loss because of the spill. The 35-year-old man was recently arrested as a result of an investigation led by the former director of the FBI who had been appointed potential areas of fraud in claims related to the spill.

Because white collar crime generally doesn't involve violence and the fraud is often committed against companies, state or governmental agencies, many don't believe that they're as serious as other kinds of crimes that involve loss, injury and death to other individuals. However, these types of crimes are taken very seriously and can have penalties that will be far worse than other types of crimes. It's important to formulate a strong defense against these charges as they can be piled on top of one another by a zealous prosecutor trying to draw attention and dissuade others from committing similar offenses.

In this case, the man made a claim that the BP oil spill had damaged his shrimping business and was compensated for that. The investigation alleges that he made multiple claims and received over $357,000 when he should have received slightly more than $1,750. In a case such as this, it's key to have a solid legal defense.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Slidell man charged with wire fraud in BP oil spill claim," Jennifer Larino, Sept. 23, 2014

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