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Slidell man pleads guilty to defrauding Gulf Coast Claims facility after BP oil spill

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NEW ORLEANS — A 48-year-old Slidell man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud relating to an application for financial help in the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite says Ronald Backes entered the plea Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, who set sentencing for Aug. 19. Backes faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to a news release from Polite's office, Backs falsely represented to the facility that he earned $156,000 annually from a shrimping business and that another person earned $36,000 annually as his employee. To support those claims, Backes created and submitted false receipts of shrimp sales. As a result, Polite says Backes illegally received $192,000 from the claims facility.

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