Oil-spill fraud leaks into South

Woman pleads guilty

A North Carolina woman recently became the first person to be charged and convicted for submitting false information in a Gulf oil-spill claim, according to media reports. She is one of seven who have been charged with fraud regarding the spill so far.

Charlotte Johnson of Fayetteville, N.C., pleaded guilty to two counts of submitting false claims to a federal agency, eight counts of wire fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. She’s done it before—prosecutors say she submitted false claims after Hurricane Katrina, California’s wildfires and storms in Tennessee and Georgia that amounted to more than $75,000.

Tens of thousands of victims are waiting to receive payments from the $20 million compensation fund. Many have expressed anger over BP’s recent decision to resume paying dividends to its shareholders, saying it’s too soon for the oil giant to get back to business.