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Woman allegedly pretends to be federal regulator

Authorities accused a woman of taking advantage of the situation surrounding the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. In April 2010, the well at Deepwater Horizon was compromised leading to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Several workers were killed during an explosion that occurred at the well and many people came to the aid of the Gulf in attempts to clean up the oil spill. The aforementioned woman was accused of felony charges for allegedly acting as an official with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The woman supposedly faked credentials and acted as a hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector, according to investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA. That investigation led to three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

Allegations suggested that the woman crafted a false federal identification badge for herself and for the individuals who believed that they were employed by her and OSHA. If she was not employed by OSHA though, neither were these individuals. According to documents, she reportedly identified herself as an OSHA Master Level V instructor and inspector, a designation that does not exist within the federal regulations agency. Many of her supposed employees were involved in fishing communities located in Louisiana. Authorities said that the woman's alleged scam gave her access to these communities, most of which are largely Southeast-Asian.

In addition to her allegedly fraudulent identification, the woman supposedly held training seminars for individuals hoping to help clean up the oil spill. These seminars purportedly cost between $150 and $400 per class. During these sessions, participants were often told they would find employment after their training sessions were complete.

Officials recently reported that the woman plead guilty to the crimes she was charged with, but were not clear on the sort of punishment she would face.

In a court of law, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Those who have a lot of evidence working against them may plead guilty in court in order to receive a lighter sentence.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "Woman who posed as OSHA official pleads guilty," Feb. 25, 2013

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