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Seeking compensation for BP spill, local men charged with fraud

May 17, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Two Fort Myers Beach men who claimed they were boat captains during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and thus entitled to compensation have been charged with fraud-related offenses.

Marque Amason, 49, and William Soong, 27, filed false claims to the settlement fund. Amason is charged with one count of wire fraud, and Soong is charged with one count of mail fraud. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Fort Myers Beach Town Council member Tracey Gore, a local resident whose family has long been associated with the shrimping business and who felt the pain of the BP incident, expressed her disappointment with the acts of the men indicted.

"Fort Myers Beach takes pride in and celebrates our local shrimping industry. Shame on anyone who would pretend to be one of the hard working men who spend weeks out at sea and truly take pride in their profession - and actually earn their money, working a very labor-intensive job," she said.

According to the indictment, Soong submitted a claim seeking payment for damages he allegedly had sustained as a boat captain. However, Soong was not, and had not been, a boat captain and was not entitled to the payment that he sought and received.

According to a second indictment, Amason submitted a claim also seeking payment for damages he allegedly had received as a boat captain. To support his claim for damages, he 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 case was investigated by the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.



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