A couple from New Orleans pleaded guilty in Orleans Parish District Court for recreational fishing license fraud on May 11.
Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier sentenced Derwin Hill, 60, and Diana Hill, 60, to each pay a $1,500 fine, two years of jail suspended and two years of probation.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested the couple on Feb. 27 for filing false public records for their roles in forging a recreational fishing license in order to falsely make a claim after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The LDWF Licensing Section notified agents of the Hill’s attempt to forge a recreational license. During the investigation, agents learned that Diana allegedly forged a 2011-12 fishing license purchased by Derwin to reflect a 2010-11 recreational fishing license so that they could make a claim with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program.
Agents were able to gather the Hill’s claim information from the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Agents leaned that the Hill’s made two separate claims with the altered fishing license. The claim with Gulf Coast Claims Facility was filed on Oct. 31, 2011 for lost earnings in the fishing industry. Derwin stated the lost total earnings totaled $19,500 in the two claims.
Derwin also filed a subsistence claim with Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program on Oct 24, 2012 for not being able to fish due to the oil spill.
On Jan. 8, 2013, agents met with the Hill’s to interview them about the fraudulently altered fishing license and claim. During the interview, Diana stated that she changed the dates on the fishing license.
The Hill’s did not receive any money from the claims due to the fraudulent nature of the fishing license used for the claim.
Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Edward Ridgel and Senior Agent Ronnie Engelhard. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Hall prosecuted the case.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.