- Associated Press - Monday, January 18, 2016

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Federal prosecutors accuse an Oxford attorney of getting nearly $600,000 in loans by misrepresenting his fees on claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and failing to repay the money.

A news release Friday said 46-year-old Tyler Smith has pleaded not guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors allege that he’d get loans from wealthy people, using as collateral oil spill claims that were nonexistent, unfiled, or already pledged as collateral for other loans.

The indictment lists loans totaling $575,000 from five people identified by initials.

Online court records show Smith is represented by public defenders. They did not immediately respond to an email Sunday night requesting comment.

Conviction would carry up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

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