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Image courtesy of Joe Gratz/Flickr.

Two men in Fort Myers, Florida were indicted last week for allegedly filing false claims to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill fund.

Marque Amason, 49, and William Soong, 27, both of Fort Myers Beach, were charged Wednesday with fraud-related offenses in connection with their submission of false claims to the BP spill settlement fund, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida said.

Amason is charged with one count of wire fraud and Soong is charged with one count of mail fraud.

If convicted, both men face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

According to the indictment, Soong submitted a claim to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement fund seeking payment for damages he allegedly incurred as a boat captain.

However, the Attorney’s Office claims that Soong was not, and had not been, a boat captain and was not entitled to the payment that he received.

According to a second indictment, Amason submitted a claim to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement fund seeking payment for damages he also allegedly incurred as a boat captain.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Amason “falsely and fraudulently” claimed that he had been a shrimp boat captain “during a particular time period.”

“However, Amason was actually incarcerated during a portion of that same time period,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David G. Lazarus and Sara Sweeney.

Federal Judge Carl Barbier approved a $20 billion settlement between BP, the U.S. Department of Justice and five Gulf states tied to the Deepwater Horizon accident last month.
The settlement calls for the funds to be paid out over the course of 16 years.