Lake Charles Woman Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud Scheme Linked To Gulf Oil Spill
A Lake Charles woman pleaded guilty yesterday to mail fraud for a scheme to use a restaurant's employee records to file false Deepwater Horizon settlement claims.
According to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, 43-year-old Yvette Kocik submitted false claims stating employees of Steamboat Bill's, a Lake Charles seafood restaurant chain, had lost earnings due to the oil spill.
In most cases, the claims may have been legitimate, but Kocik, who worked as the restaurant's bookkeeper, made false claims in the names of former and current restaurant employees who, in fact, had no lost wages or hours worked because of the Gulf disaster.
For more than 10 claims, the employees received a total of $104,655 in claims awards. Kocik kept a portion of the proceeds awarded to the employees for herself.
She faces up to 20 years behind bars, one to three years supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution. Her sentencing date has been set for October 22.