Fifteen people have been charged with fraud for allegedly filing bogus claims for help after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday the phony claims were worth more than $300,000 combined.
Fourteen defendants were charged in bills of information, generally an indication that they have signed plea deals. A grand jury indicted one of them.
The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/13rIS9M ) most charged allegedly claimed to have worked jobs at certain wages before the spill, but prosecutors allege they did not work the jobs at the wages they purported. One man submitted a forged letter from his employer saying his wages were reduced when they were not; others claimed to have operated commercial fishing businesses when they didn't.