What are some signs that something fishy may be going on with the BP Gulf Oil spill settlement fund?

How about:

  • A $173,000 payout to an adult escort service that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial records?
  • Or, $23.1 million paid to an alligator farm that earned profits the year of the spill after two previous years of losses?

Claims like this are a product of a flood tide of lawyers and pitchmen all hawking big cash payments for virtually anyone and everyone.

Two years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, energy giant British Petroleum did something perhaps no other company had done before: It agreed to pay unlimited settlement claims to Gulf Coast businesses affected by the spill.

BP, however, says its settlement offer is being abused.

More than 38,000 claims at an estimated $3.7 billion have already been paid out.

While most claimants were legitimately harmed by the oil spill, critics say a sizable number appear to have suffered no harm whatsoever.

The examples of the escort service and alligator farm are just two examples.  Billions of settlement dollars, however, have flowed to companies that critics say have no connection to the spill.

BP says it’s settlement offer is being abused. So the company asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to help stop the payout hemorrhage.

While the Court did issue a temporary stop on payments to businesses that cannot connect their losses to the spill, earlier this year the 5th Circuit lifted its temporary stop on payments.

BP is asking the full 5th Circuit to reconsider its decision, but in the meantime more questionable claims that lack any proof of connection to the oil spill will be heard.

Learn more about this troubling situation by watching our video above.

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