OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. -- BP's claims chief says the number of residents being denied compensation for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is rising sharply because of a flood of new claims without proper documentation or with no proof at all.

Some 20,000 people have been told they have no right to emergency compensation, compared to about 125 denials at the end of September. This is in addition to many others who say they are getting mere fractions of what they've lost. Others are receiving large checks and full payments.

In an interview with The Associated Press, claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg denied allegations the process is beset by chaos. He said the claims facility has sent about 30 potentially fraudulent claims to the Justice Department for investigation, and hundreds more are under review.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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