BP launches hotline to stop oil spill claims fraud

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - BP is hoping to crack down on the number of fraudulent claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Monday, the company announced it had launched the Gulf Claims Fraud Hotline.

A news release said, "Reports should be made of any fraudulent or corrupt activity, no matter where in the claims process it occurs – whether in the solicitation of the claim by attorneys, accountants or other claims preparation services, the preparation of the financial records and claim application, or the processing of the claim – and no matter whether the claim was filed with BP, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), or the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP)."

BP officials said in recent months, U.S. attorneys in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana have secured guilty pleas and convictions against multiple individuals for attempting to defraud the claims process and take money to which they are not entitled under the law.

Former federal judge and Director of the FBI Louis Freeh was recently appointed to lead an independent investigation of the CSSP with wide latitude to look for "possible ethical violations or misconduct."

Anyone with knowledge of fraud or corruption is asked to call 1-855-NO-2-FRAUD (1-855-662-3728). The call is free, and all reports can be made anonymously.

Tips received through the Hotline will be reviewed and referred for further evaluation, if warranted, to fraud investigators at the CSSP, the National Center for Disaster Fraud, or other law enforcement agencies.

Tips that lead directly to an indictment, a recovery of money paid, or the denial of a claim because of fraud or corruption may entitle the reporter to a reward.

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