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Court orders return of $1.6 million in claim money

11 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago January 21, 2016 Jan 21, 2016 Thursday, January 21 2016 January 21, 2016 11:57 AM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Kevin McGill

NEW ORLEANS - A federal court has ordered repayment of more than $1.6 million in claim money paid to an Alabama couple's business after BP's 2010 Gulf Oil Spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's order says the payment to Vision Design Management "was nearly entirely based on fraud."

The ruling issued this week identifies Barbara J. Stokes and Scott B. Stokes as the owners of the corporation. Barbier's order grants a March 2015 motion for return of the money filed by the oil spill claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, and a court appointed master overseeing the claim process, Louis Freeh.

Barbara Stokes declined immediate comment when reached by telephone Thursday. In a letter to the court last year, she denied wrongdoing and said she and her husband don't have money for restitution.

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