A Mississippi woman accused of posing as an OSHA trainer to deliver fraudulent training after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is being indicted on 22-felony counts.
46 year-old Connie M. Knight allegedly used false credentials to con more than 1,000 fishermen out of $100 to $300 each. The fisherman believed they were paying for a training class that would allow them to get jobs helping clean up the oil spill.
Knight’s false credentials identified here as a “Master Level V Inspector and Instructor” from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and told people she was the agency’s highest-ranking female trainer, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment Knight used the false credentials to primarily target members of the Southeast Asian communities in Southern Louisiana, many of whom neither read nor spoke English proficiently.
In addition to creating false identification and credentials for herself Knight is charged with creating four additional OSHA identification badges for Louisiana residents she hired as employees.
The charges of producing and transferring fraudulent federal identification documents each carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The charge of possessing a fraudulent federal identification document carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $5,000. The 19 counts of falsely impersonating a federal employee each carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from OSHA, the FBI, and investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s office.