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Vancleave man loses challenge to 53-month prison sentence in oil spill fraud case

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JACKSON, Mississippi — A federal appeals court has upheld the fraud conviction of man who pretended to be a shrimp-boat captain and alleged he lost his livelihood to collect oil spill recovery money.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday denied Joseph Anthony Clements' challenge to his 53-month prison term.

Clements, of Vancleave, Mississippi, was convicted last year in federal court in Gulfport.

Clements was paid $36,300 from the fund reserved for victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Prosecutors say Clements misrepresenting himself as business owner who lost money.

Clements alleged he owned a shrimping and fishing business before the oil spill of April 2010 and filed paperwork including documents showing his income and losses.

The appeals panel says Clements' sentence was appropriate.

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