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May 23, 2013
Woman who impersonated OSHA official will serve time

Connie M. Knight, who pretended to be an OSHA safety trainer, has been sentenced to serve 57 months in prison. In addition, Knight was ordered to pay victim restitution of $25,300.

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In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Knight impersonated a high-ranking OSHA hazardous waste safety instructor and inspector. Her intent was to collect money from individuals who hoped to work on the cleanup effort that followed the spill. She targeted members of the Southeast Asian fishing community in coastal Louisiana.

In January, Knight pleaded guilty to criminal charges for creating false identification documents and impersonating a federal official.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Knight created and used false federal identifications to bolster her credibility as an OSHA employee. She tried to convince the trainees that she could ensure them lucrative employment cleaning up the spill. In fact, Knight had no connection to OSHA or the cleanup effort, nor did she have training in hazardous waste safety.

Department of Labor Inspector General Daniel R. Petrole stated, “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message to those who would intentionally engage in fraudulent activity that compromises the integrity of the Department of Labor’s OSHA program.” OSHA administrator Dr. David Michaels said the agency will not tolerate fraudulent training or unscrupulous activity when workers’ health and lives may be at stake.

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