DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 21, 2015
Pamela C. Marsh
, United States Attorney
Contact: Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Pensacola Businessman Indicted on Multiple Federal Charges

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Herdeypal Singh Bhatti, 41, of Pensacola, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola after a federal grand jury returned two separate indictments charging him with unlawfully attempting to procure naturalization and with wire and mail fraud. The indictments were announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The naturalization indictment alleges that, in November 2011, Bhatti knowingly and falsely indicated on his naturalization application that he never failed to file a required federal income tax return and that he did not owe overdue federal taxes. The trial is scheduled for September 21, 2015.

The fraud indictment alleges that, in 2010 and 2011, Bhatti committed wire and mail fraud by knowingly submitting fraudulent claims and supporting documentation to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (“GCCF”) in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The indictment alleges that Bhatti falsely claimed to be a hotel manager seeking payment for his lost earnings from the spill. The trial is scheduled for October 5, 2015.

These cases resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the Pensacola Police Department, and the State Attorney's Office for the 1st Judicial Circuit. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the cases.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

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Field Division: Tampa Field Division