A day before the one-year anniversary of the oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico, BP claims fund administrator Ken Feinberg said Tuesday that $4 billion has been paid out, more than 100,000 applications remain unprocessed, and most of the 800,000 original claims have been denied.
Many claims are from people who suffered financial hardship, Feinberg said, adding that thousands of fraudulent ones also have been uncovered and some claimants have been indicted.
|Ken Feinberg says most of the 800,000 original claims related to the BP oil spill have been denied. (AFP/Getty Images Photo)
“Most of those claims have been denied as lacking any proof,” Feinberg said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve processed about 72 percent of all the claims from 50 states . . . we’ve gone through them — we still have about 100,000 to go — and we should by the end of the year be current.”
Feinberg was asked whether the Justice Department is taking action against the fraudulent claims.
“We found about 8,000 very suspicious claims and we’ve sent — after reviewing them internally — we’ve sent about 1,000 claims to the Justice Department,” Feinberg said. “They’ve indicted some people, and they’ve got the others under active consideration.
“You get these strange claims, gentlemen, I must say. Either you’ll get a claim for a restaurant, where we make the best shrimp scampi in Bismarck [North Dakota], and now we can’t get Gulf shrimp so we’ve lost 10 percent of our clientele — pay us. Those are in the denial pile. We’ve got some claims from dentists, chiropractors, veterinarians.
“But I want to emphasize, most of the claims in the Gulf are for real people — I don’t want to make a joke of this — fisherman, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, hotels right on the beach. That’s where the $4 billion has gone,” Feinberg said. “And I’m determined — you take a lot of heat on this — I’m determined to process these claims and get money out the door to eligible claimants.”
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