Three people charged for filing false claims to BP oil spill rec - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Three people charged for filing false claims to BP oil spill recovery fund

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More people have been charged with allegedly trying to illegally take money from the BP Oil Spill recovery fund.

The U.S. Attorney's Office reports Jeremy Jamal Bell, 24;  Anthony Keith Bivins, 42, both of Birmingham; and Cametrica L. Menifield, 31, of Bessemer, are charged with conspiring in 2011 to participate in a scheme to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

Combined, the three defendants were paid about $138,881 from the BP oil spill claims funds.

All three defendants have signed plea agreements with the government expressing their intention to plead guilty to the charges.

British Petroleum, which owned the Macondo oil well where the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, established the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) in June 2010 for the purpose of administering and settling claims resulting from the oil spill disaster.

A subsidiary of BP established the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust Fund in August 2010 to pay certain types of claims and expenses from the oil spill, including claims settled through the GCCF.

 Bell, Bivins and Menifield are each charged with independently agreeing to provide personal information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information, to individuals who recruited them so that they could use the information to file fraudulent claims for lost wages with the GCCF.

After the fraudulent claims were paid to Bell, Bivins and Menifield, each of them allegedly returned part of the money to the individuals who recruited them to participate in the scheme, according to the informations and plea agreements.

The GCCF paid Bell $42,877 from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust Fund on Aug. 9, 2011, according to the court documents.

Later that month, Bell withdrew $42,402 from his account and gave it to the person who recruited him to participate in the scheme, according to the documents.

Bivins received about $61,987 in claim funds in October 2011.

On Oct. 29, 2011, according to his information and plea agreement, he cashed the claims check, used some of it to buy money orders and a prepaid $5,000 debit card, as directed, and turned it all over to a co-conspirator.

He was given $5,000 and the prepaid debit card in return. 

Menifield received about $34,023 from the GCCF on July 21, 2011, according to her information and plea agreement.

On July 22, 2011, she gave about $24,000 to a co-defendant and kept about $10,000, according to the documents.

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