Fraud allegations at center of oil spill hearing
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has refused to halt payments from a BP fund to compensate deckhands and other seafood workers harmed financially by the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The oil giant sought the delay because of investigations into alleged fraud by a Texas lawyer.
BP argues the $2.3 billion it agreed to put into the oil spill seafood compensation fund was inflated, based on the belief that Mikal Watts represented more than 40,000 clients.
BP claims that more than half of the Social Security numbers on Watts' client list were fake.
More than $1 billion of the fund has been distributed. BP wanted a second round of payments suspended.
U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier on Wednesday said a suspension was unnecessary because the second round of payments is months away.
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