2018’s Bad Guys in Energy

I report herein on 2018’s parade of reprobates, rapscallions and others generally lacking in moral hygiene.  We reflect on a mother’s love, corruption in Venezuela, a disloyal employee, stealing from friends, a disgraced politician, and the wisdom of Forrest Gump.

Perp: Carol Faulkner

Violation: Not a crime but worthy of your consideration for its shamelessness. A “mendacious filing” in a an SEC civil enforcement action against Chris Faulkner, and she “repeatedly and willfully abused the judicial system” in connection with his fraud case.

Sentence: Sanctioned $5,205.50. This was after she was held in civil contempt and fled to Lebanon.

Titillating fact: This is the Frack Master’s OWN MOTHER. Merle was right; Mama failed … in so many ways.

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Perps: In “Operation Money Flight“, seven defendants (six Venezuelians and a Swiss banker), nine co-conspirators, and three unnamed “government officials”.

Crime: Embezzlement of funds from Venezuela’s government-owned oil company and laundering €78 million through South Florida.

Worthy of a Tom Cruise movie? The 116-paragraph affidavit of a federal agent, compiled after two years of secretly-recorded conversations, described “Massive fraud and corruption [that is] rampant throughout Venezuela’s government-run foreign-exchange system”, the use of “sophisticated false investment money laundering schemes”, and “artless attempts to hide what was ultimately revealed as embezzlement”.

Sentence: In the case of one Abraham Edgardo Ortega, after admitting the allegations, forfeiture of all of real and personal property involved in the crime, including $12 million in assets and deposits in bank accounts in the U.S., the Bahamas and Switzerland; potential effect on his U. S. immigration status. He is awaiting sentencing. His co-conspirators should be nervous.

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Perp: Sean Thomas Potts, former Chevron employee, engineer and petroleum products trader.

Crime: Conspiracy to commit many felonies: wire fraud in interstate and foreign commerce, defrauding Chevron out of honest services, international money laundering, willfully filing false tax returns (Fraudster practice tip: Once you get the kickback you have to hide it).

He and co-conspirator Corbitt used Cayman Islands corporations and bank accounts to steer business to counterparties who were willing to pay kickbacks. The money was laundered through Belarus, Russia, and other international destinations.

Pled guilty to one count of filing a false tax return and agreed to throw Corbitt under the bus “fully cooperate” with the government against his co-defendant.

Sentence: Three years’ probation and $210,000 restitution. For the effect of the crimes, see Chevron’s impact statement, which could have been informed by this …

Self-inflicted factor: Indicative of either his true character or misguided legal advice, once accused, Potts in turn accused Chevron of misleading earnings reports, accounting and trading violations, and other wrongdoing, and sued for wrongful termination, none of which was proved.

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Perp: Former Texas state Senator Carlos Uresti.

Crime: Convicted by a jury of 11 felonies in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving Four Winds Logistics, a frac sand start-up.

Sentence: Humiliating, public fall from grace, resignation from his cushy Senate seat, 12 years in a state hoosegow, $6.3 million in restitution, denial of his state pension.

Remorse or denial? After meekly assuring the judge at his sentencing hearing of deep remorse for his personal failings, he immediately complained to the press about the unfairness of it all and vowed to appeal.

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Perp: Stanley P Bates, a highly decorated Marine who went into business with the aforementioned Senator Uresti.

Crime: Same as Uresti.

Sentence: 15 years (barely shy of the maximum under sentencing guidelines). See the defendant’s sentencing memorandum for his side of the story: He relied on Uresti as the company’s lawyer, denies it was a Ponzi scheme, “ … got caught up in the lifestyle I thought I needed to live in order to bring investors to the table”, used cocaine and went to strip clubs, pled guilty, and cooperated with the government. It didn’t work. This could be why.

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Perp: Joseph Brant Loftis.

Crime: Proving there is still room for garden variety wire fraud and money laundering, represented that he had the right to producing properties when he didn’t, lying about the amount of production, representing that no oil was being produced when it was, claiming that a reputable accounting firm was providing auditing services when it wasn’t, lying about having a college degree and not having a criminal record, using investor funds for his personal benefit, selling securities without a license.

Sentence: 97 months + 97 months to run concurrently, $7.8 million in restitution, forfeiture of $1.6 million.

Query: Could his investors have learned this with due diligence?

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Perps: Joseph M. Laura, Anthony R. Sichenzio, Walter Gil de Rubio.

Violation: SEC enforcement action. The defendants raised more than $3.7 million from at least 80 investors through the fraudulent offer and sale of securities in an Austrian company that had rights to a crude oil processing technology. Many investors were social and business acquaintances whom the defendants led to believe were being offered a special opportunity available only to “friends and family”.

Alleged are a variety of fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions of material facts about the financial condition of the company and baseless and or unreasonably optimistic projections. Less than half of the funds raised went to legitimate business uses.

Sentence: Case is in its early stages. We wonder who will blink first and blame the others.

What makes people do these things? New York lawyer Laura owed several million dollars to Sechenzio and Gil de Rubio. Looks like a scam to trick suckers into repaying his debts. I wonder what his alternatives were.

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Perp: Ehsan Abdi-Jalebi, an academic internationally acclaimed for his work on wind turbines.

Crime: Stealing £1 million from an English government green energy project by falsifying invoices, bank statements, and other documents. The judge admonished him for “trousering” the money for himself.

Sentence: Four years.

Forrest Gump was right: Caught with £100,000 hidden in a chocolate box while boarding a flight to Tehran, which led to the investigation.

It would be right and proper for today’s subjects to spend their detention in contemplation of their lives of vice and dissipation, soothed by a melodious tune.

View source: https://www.energyandthelaw.com/2019/01/03/2018s-bad-guys-in-energy/

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