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BP Oil Spill Award must be Returned by Lawyers
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On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that a $357,000 payment in a damage claim from the 2010 BP oil spill must be repaid because the claim was fraudulent.

The fraudulent claim was made  by Casey Thonn for seafood losses. A former FBI director, Louis Freeh, investigated and determined that the claim was made based on phony tax returns.


The order issued on Tuesday, by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, was recommended by Freeh that the money be paid back. The evidence shown against Thonn, included the unfiled phony tax returns and forms that were filed with the Internal Revenue Service indicating Thonn had been unemployed when the spill happened.

“In light of this evidence and Thonn’s failure to rebut it, the Court finds that the current record is sufficient to support a finding that Thonn committed fraud, without an evidentiary hearing,” Barbier wrote.

Barbier said, Thonn is responsible for repaying the award and attorneys in the case are liable for fees they received. The ruling does not implicate the attorneys in wrongdoing.

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The ruling on Tuesday, was the latest outcome from Freeh’s investigation of the claims process arising from a settlement of civil litigation following the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon offshore rig disaster that sent millions of gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

The list of attorneys include Louis Sutton III, whose resigned from the staff of the oil spill settlement claims administrator led to a broader court-ordered investigation by Freeh. Andy Lerner LLC, Jonathan Andry, Glen Lerner and Coastal Claims Group, LLC. Phone calls and messages left for Thonn’s and Sutton’s lawyers were not immediately returned.

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