INCLUDING OIL & GAS THIEVES!
In May of 2010 the Dallas Business Journal published a story on unscrupulous oil and gas companies in Dallas. It revealed major losses for many investors.
Our law firm believes it is vital that you are aware of the key elements in this story and their potential implications. We have prepared this summary with commentary, based on our experience litigating many fraud cases.
-Roughly half of all investor losses under investigation by the Dallas FBI office involve oil and gas frauds.
COMMENT: Nearly 98% of our clients who invested in oil and gas projects were victims of a fraud.
-Investors have lost more than $633,000,000.00 in oil and gas frauds currently under investigation.
COMMENT: In the past few years, we have secured judgments for over 120 investors across the United States who were defrauded in oil and gas scams. These judgments are in excess of $14,000,000.00.
-At the time of the Dallas Business Journal story, securities fraud investigations by the FBI’s Dallas office total about $1,200,000,000.00 in losses. “Oil and gas fraud has been trending upward for the past five years,” said Robert Casey, special agent in charge of the Dallas FBI office.
COMMENT: Years after the story was published, and as a result of the decrease in the price of oil, the oil and gas fraudsters tell prospective investors: Now is the time to invest since oil and gas prices are low…so when the prices increases, you will make a killing.
-Dallas-Fort Worth is home to a large number of legitimate oil and gas companies. Con artists using oil & gas as part of their Ponzi schemes naturally set up shop here. “It's reasonable for them to be based here," Casey said. "In securities fraud, perception is reality."
COMMENT: This is spot on. Many of our past and current clients were lured into making substantial investments in numerous oil and gas projects. Often fraudulent oil and gas companies set up in one state, the operation and physical presence of the oil and gas field in a second state, and the offerings made to prospective investors in a third state. Our experience has proven that these companies do this so there is less chance of any investor dropping by a well site or a nonexistent company headquarters. We have exposed this ruse. In fact, most fraudulent oil and gas companies have their front door locked, a camera showing who is at their front door, and if that person appears to be an investor, they are not allowed into the office.
-Casey said that the typical oil and gas fraud involves promoters selling investors shares in a drilling opportunity, an operating well or some other profit center in the oil patch, without any legitimate effort to engage in that business. In essence, their Ponzi schemes are cloaked in the appeal of investing in the oil business, he added.
COMMENT: Recently, one officer of a scam oil and gas company we are suing testified that people like to invest in oil and gas because it makes them feel important, and people think investing in an oil project is “exciting.” Our firm sued and won.
-The success of the Barnett Shale, combined with investors' desire for stronger returns on their investments, make oil and gas schemes more attractive to potential victims in North Texas.
COMMENT: The schemes involve representing to potential investors that they will achieve huge tax credits. In fact, individual investors may earn the credits, while most likely losing their entire investment.
-While Dallas-Fort Worth is a nexus for oil and gas fraudsters, their victims can be found nationwide, Casey said.
COMMENT: While representing defrauded clients across the U.S., we have learned the behavior of these con artists. Texas fraudsters pursue victims from other states because these scammers are confident their defrauded investors are not likely to travel to Texas to personally confront them. Most victims don’t.
-Before investing in an oil and gas security, the potential investors should do their own homework on a project, he said. That includes checking in with regulators in the oil and gas securities industries to make certain the business is legitimate. In Texas, that means the Texas State Securities Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Texas Railroad Commission.
COMMENT: This is basic but essential advice. CAUTION: These salesmen are excellent at convincing people to invest. As a result, our experience has shown that most potential investors will not “check out” the oil and gas company prior to sending them a check. Bottom Line. Do not invest a penny until you have done your due diligence.
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