Wow, Never Saw This One Coming…

…don’t spit your coffee on your computer screen, but there might be fraudulent claims against BP by folks who aren’t really fishermen.

Crazy, huh?

BP could be paying millions in compensation to ‘fake fishermen’, it has been revealed.

So far BP has paid $308 million to those whose livelihood has been threatened by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But to receive compensation, fishermen must display a valid fishing licence – and applications for such licenses have spiked by nearly 60 per cent, despite most fishing grounds being closed by the disaster.

Apparently, the state of Louisiana has sold 2,200 new licenses since the Deepwater Horizon blowout on April 20, which considering the  condition of the state’s budget is a nice little revenue bump. But Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement chief Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne said that wasn’t particularly good news for BP…

“Originally BP was paying to cheques to just anybody who had a licence and that may have spurred some of the fraud,” he said.

“There were no real checks and balances on whether they were they really commercial fishermen.

“I would like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. It’s a lot easier to go and steal a resource than to rob a bank.”

This is just a guess, but the state of Louisiana and its political subdivisions probably won’t be overly aggressive in prosecuting folks who loot BP. That’s understandable, but on the other hand there are lots of unintended – and negative – consequences to letting stuff like this happen. Not the least of which is the idea and expectation that at some point BP will declare they’re tapped out and then there will be honest people legitimately harmed who won’t be able to get paid because the looters will get there first. Or even if BP isn’t tapped out, at some point they’re going to clamp down hard on who gets paid in an effort to stamp out fraud – and that’s going to make it more difficult for some legitimate claims to succeed.

Most of all, though, the reputation of the state will suffer. And coming on the heels of Katrina, when there were scams galore which gave Louisiana a bad name, this situation could solidify opposition to future disaster claims the next time there’s a hurricane or some other disaster.

All that said, it’s hard not to snicker a little at the fact BP is getting scammed. Serves ’em right for participating in the global warming scam all those years, doesn’t it?

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