TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - A Tybee Island shrimper is in trouble after a federal jury found him guilty of mail fraud, money laundering and making false statements.
Investigators say Michael Brian Anderson managed to steal from $800,000 from the federal government.
Anderson applied for millions of dollars in funding after he claimed he lost profits from foreign competition. Many shrimpers claimed losses from the Customs and Border Protection. The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, allowed American shrimpers to apply for federal funding to help with the income they lost.
Locals say this helped many local shrimpers stay afloat.
"They work real hard, and they stay out for hours, I mean days, I guess,” said local fisherman Horrace Fulcher.
But unlike many others, Anderson filed many false claims. He says his business expenses for two years were more than $24 million. The government ended up paying Anderson $800,000 which they say he never should have gotten.
United States Attorney Bobby Christine said, "Brian Anderson submitted millions of dollars in inflated invoices for one simple reason: greed."
"I would feel really bad. I would be pretty mad cause if somebody, If I'm out here working real hard and somebody else is taking advantage and taking my money then I would be real mad,” Fulcher said.
In March of this year, Anderson was convicted by a federal jury. Recently, he was sentenced for three counts of false statements, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering.
He now faces more than six years in prison and has been ordered to pay back over $800,000.
Locals say its situations like this that put a bad taste in people's mouths.
"They making it look bad for the shrimpers. You know, thinking that all shrimpers the same but it’s not true. They work real hard,” Fulcher said.