A man has pleaded not guilty to charges he received $172,800 by claiming he lost work as a deckhand after the BP oil spill of April 2010.
Leonard Charles Thomas, 39, is tentatively set for trial May 15 in U.S. District Court.
He was denied bond Feb. 22 after his arrest on a three-count indictment filed March 18, 2015.
Thomas had been paroled on two drug convictions in July 2012, but had not kept in touch with his parole officer, a court paper says. The Mississippi Highway Patrol arrested him on traffic violations Feb. 12, when parole warrants and a federal arrest warrant showed up on a background check.
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The indictment alleges Thomas falsely claimed he had been a deckhand and an oyster and shrimp fisherman on a boat known as the Strike and Mississippi Strike in Pass Christian in 2010, when the oil spill occurred.
Thomas and a co-conspirator provided the Gulf Coast Claims Facility with receipts, tax documents and an employment letter showing his alleged loss of employment, the indictment said. The GCCF administered the oil-spill recovery money.
Thomas is accused of committing his crimes in Harrison and Jackson counties.