BP's Billions Draw Scam Artists

Hundreds seek to profit from oil-spill settlement.

, The National Law Journal


Dozens of individuals have been charged with or convicted of filing fraudulent claims for oil-spill damages, and BP has been more than vocal about what it considers massive fraud in the distribution of claims.

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What's being said

  • Michael G. Phelan

    I am an attorney who represents both individual and corporate plaintiffs. I do not represent any BP claimants, and I must confess that I never thought the BP settlement made much sense because it does not require traditional proof of damage in order to qualify for compensation. However, BP drafted and agreed to this bizarre settlement so that it could tell the American public that it was taking responsibility for destroying the Gulf. BP should live up to its agreement.

    One of the people who commented this article, Darren McKinney, is the paid Communications Director for an organization that was formed to lobby in favor of taking away from the American people access to the our civil justice system. The Seventh Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury in civil disputes. Mr. McKinney‘s organization, American Tort Reform Association, would like to force all individuals (but not corporations) into mandatory arbitration of their claims. ATRA does not trust citizen jurors and does not want to allow individual citizens to have access to the courts. The weakness of ATRA‘s position is evidenced by the fact that Mr. McKinney must resort to name calling and character assassination as his means of advocacy.

  • John Marsischky

    The True sham here is the way legitimate claimants and being smeared by both media and BP‘s paid staff, including Mr. Feinberg who‘s own economic interests are tied to BP. The aurthor writes:

    "Feinberg, founder of Washington‘s Feinberg Rozen, defended his administration of his fund, noting that he sent only 4,000 of the 1.2 million claims received to the Justice Department for potential prosecution."
    - Amanda Bronstad

    The author should be aware that these 4,000 claims (out of 1.2 million filed properly) forwarded by Mr. Feinberg have led to a only a few hundred criminal cases. It is important to note and that the majority of the DOJ cases pending were against claims and payments made under Mr. Feinberg‘s administered GCCF claims program (managed directly by BP with Mr. Feinberg heading the operations and not under the Court Administered DHECC run by Mr. Juneau.)

    Mr. Feinberg failed to ever properly release any documentation as to the mechanism whereby BP claimed to oversee his operations but their recnet and proven illegal use of the Settlement Claims computer system to access claims before such claims were legally decided by Mr. Juneau‘s DHECC Settlement payment center gives you an idea. BP was found to be accessing tens of thousands of claimant‘s files in direct violation of the court ordered Settlement and was ordered in early 2014 to stop such activities.

    Under Mr. Feinberg BP had apparently (by their own statements given in the 5th District Court) used this same data system created and managed by BrownGreer, to regularly access and evaluate claims and then through an unknown mechanism direct Mr. Feinberg‘s GCCF to pay or not pay specific claims.

    In the process of this there are allegations that Mr. Feinberg‘s operations issued both valid settlement offers and a large number of fraudulent settlement offers that appear to violate the US federal Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud laws. Numerous attorneys working with claimants are currently preparing Wire Fraud charges against BP/GCCF/Feinberg relating to those fraudulent Settlement Offers by the GCCF.

    A careful examination of Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud precedent shows that Mr. Feinberg‘s operations could indeed be at risk as Settlement letters were both mailed and electronically sent. Many of these letters are said to have contained blatant errors and misrepresentations. The GCCF system in fairness had an appeals process where the GCCF could have repaired these Settlement letters, but if they were not then the GCCF could be shown to be liable for those misrepresentation and errors.

    Also important to note that many of the media released claims stories that BP has centered their attack ads on where in fact processed and paid by Mr. Feinberg‘s GCCF, not the current court administered DHECC of Mr. Juneau.

    Given BP‘s ability to access claims data directly under both systems one must consider if BP itself has a legal liability under the criminal fraud laws of the US due to the numerous improper and misrepresentative settlement offers that were apparently sent out by Mr. Feinberg and the GCCF.

  • Darren McKinney

    The DOJ‘s Peter Carr should be obliged to explain why this administration is so reluctant to go after the shamelessly scheming shysters, er, plaintiffs‘ attorneys who are at the heart of this giant fraud. After all, it seems regulators feel free to squeeze another billion or two out of JPMorgan‘s Jamie Dimon every he expels gas. So why not start serioulsy squeezing some among the plaintiffs‘ bar, whether they‘re lying about oil spill losses, asbestos exposures or perpetrating myriad other fraudulent claims on our civil justtice system every day at great expense to taxpayers and our economy?

    -Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

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