Crime

Woman changes plea on charge she fraudulently claimed $150K in BP funds

A former Biloxi woman, who received about $150,000 in oil spill recovery money by claiming she was a hotel manager, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court.

Vanna Ly did not work for the Holiday Inn in Biloxi, as she claimed, before or after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, court records show.

Ly changed her plea Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden.

She faces up to 20 years in prison at her sentencing on March 23, her plea agreement shows.

Ly initially pleaded not guilty in June. She now lives in New Orleans.

She filed a claim online with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility while she was living in Biloxi in 2010. A co-conspirator helped her provide copies of pay stubs, tax documents and an employment verification letter, the indictment said.

A second indictment also filed in federal court alleged she made false statements in a bankruptcy petition and concealed her assets. The bankruptcy petition was filed in Gulfport in 2013.

In her bankruptcy petition, she did not disclose that she had been an owner of V Sushi Martini and Bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The bar and restaurant, which was closed, was on the ground floor of an Iberville Street building with apartments on the upper floors, that indictment said.

She also did not disclose she had sold property on Cedar Street in Biloxi.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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