Former Gautier Resident Sentenced to Prison for Mail Fraud

From:  News Release   9/6/17   GCN

Gulfport, Miss. – Leonard Charles Thomas, 39, formerly of Gautier, Mississippi, was sentenced on August 31, 2017, by U.S District Judge Sul Ozerden, to serve 25 months in federal prison for mail fraud in connection with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain.

Thomas was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,171.52 to BP America, Inc. Thomas carried out a scheme to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility by making materially false representations, through wire and mail submissions, that he suffered damages and lost employment as a deckhand and fisherman on a fishing boat in the harbor in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

An investigation revealed that Thomas did not work on the fishing boat and did not lose earnings and profits as a result of the oil spill.

He received $118,171.52 as a result of his fraudulent scheme. This case, which was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Jones, is the result of this District’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), a nationwide initiative to protect available funds and assistance for those victims of both natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and the recent Gulf oil spill.

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, you can contact the NCDF by either calling the hotline at (866) 720-5721, faxing (225) 334-4707, emailing at disaster@leo.gov or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909.