| Crime |

Eliu Gonzalez, Florida City Sea Hustler, Pleads Guilty to Defrauding BP Out of Oil Spill Funds

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BP was recently ripped off to the tune of six figures by an enterprising hustler named Eliu Gonzalez. The 37-year-old Florida City resident was indicted in April for forging documents to claim $110,116 in lost fishing income due to the Deepwater Horizon spill. 

He was a fugitive until August. This week, sea gangstas the globe over shed a tear when he pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme. He now faces 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

(Call us anarchists, but we are annoyed that no BP official has been charged with any crime in connection with the $20 billion-plus oil spill that totally screwed up the Gulf and messed up a lot of fishies' days. Just sayin'.)

To prove lost income, Gonzalez filed invoices showing he sold yellowtail snapper to Miami's Casablanca Fish Market. He said he caught them on his boat, the Trudi Ann II, during 16 trips from January through April 2010.

BP's oil rig exploded in April 2010, and its Gulf Coast Claims Facility compensated him based on what he purportedly would have earned.

Casablanca harpooned the scheme when a records-keeper testified the invoices were fake -- and that Gonzalez had actually had never sold fish to the market.

If Gonzalez's local criminal record is any indication, the sea police be hatin' on him. He's been arrested for possession of undersize dolphin (the fish, we hope) and lobster, driving a vessel with an expired registration, and ignoring a diver's down flag.

The poor guy, who's been detained as a flight risk since his arrest two months ago, will be sentenced in January.

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