Local News

Feds suspect Fayetteville woman of oil spill-related fraud

Posted November 16, 2010 11:10 a.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2010 11:19 a.m. EST

— Federal authorities are investigating a Fayetteville woman who they suspect of using her dead sister's identity to submit a claim to the fund set up to compensate people affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to a search warrant unsealed Tuesday, someone using the name Sabrina Conner submitted a claim in August, saying she had been laid off from P&J Oyster Co. in New Orleans after the spill last spring. The company president told auditors that the pay stubs that were submitted to the compensation fund were bogus and that he had never heard of Sabrina Conner or the person whose name was on a termination letter that had been submitted to the fund.

Federal investigators determined that Sabrina Conner died in Phenix City, Ala., on May 13 and that she had relatives in the Fayetteville area.

Auditors who tried to track down Conner's relatives said they talked to her mother and later received a call from a woman identifying herself as Sabrina Conner. The woman refused to provide more information about herself. according to the search warrant.

Federal authorities obtained the warrant to check the Yahoo! e-mail account of Conner's sister, Charlette Johnson, whom they suspect of wire fraud, according to the application for the warrant.

No charges have been filed in the case.