Woman pleads guilty to using fake IDs in oil spill cleanup

Deepwater Horizon spillA woman has pleaded guilty to creating a false ID to impersonate a federal official in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In a plea agreement Connie Knight told the court she impersonated a high-ranking Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Knight used a fake persona to collect money from individuals who hoped to work on the cleanup effort.

The fake identification document, which said Knight was an “OSHA Master Level V Instructor and Inspector,” helped convince Southeast Asian fishermen to pay for oil spill cleanup training. Knight charged up to $400 which, with fishing stopped by the spill, some were willing to pay.

Despite having no affiliation to OSHA, the fake certificates given out at Knight’s classes allowed some people to access hazardous waste cleanup sites. Knight also created fake identification badges for her employees, which were hired from the from the communities she was targeting.

For producing fake federal identification documents Knight faces up to 15 years in jail and a fine of $250,000. The other charges of possessing fake identification documents and impersonating a federal officer also carry maximum prison sentences ranging from one to three years.

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