Claimant, lawyers must return $357,000 award

AP News
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Posted: Apr 29, 2014 7:57 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has 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 claim had been made by Casey Thonn for seafood losses. An investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh determined it was made based on phony tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Tuesday that Thonn is responsible for repaying the money.

The ruling does not implicate Thonn's lawyers in wrongdoing. However, Barbier says attorneys in the case are liable for repaying fees they received.

Those attorneys include Louis Sutton III, whose resignation from the staff of the oil spill settlement claims administrator led to a broader court-ordered investigation by Freeh.

Messages left for Thonn's and Sutton's lawyers were not immediately returned.