Fake OSHA instructor sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison

May 22, 2013

New Orleans – A woman convicted of impersonating an OSHA official in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion has been sentenced to 57 months in prison.

Connie Knight, 47, pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to charges of creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official. She was sentenced May 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Following the 2010 disaster, Knight impersonated an OSHA hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector, and collected money from people hoping to work on the spill’s cleanup effort, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

Knight – who has no connection to OSHA and no training in hazardous waste safety – charged training attendees $150 to $300 and provided them with fraudulent completion certifications.

Many of the victims were from Asian fishing communities in southern Louisiana and did not speak or read English. The areas were struggling economically after shrimp grounds were closed because of the spill, and Knight promised the victims “lucrative employment” in spill cleanup following the training, the press release states.

Knight also was ordered to pay $25,300 in victim restitution.