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Former CEO fined in Ponzi scheme

The former CEO of an oil and natural gas company must pay nearly $500,000 in fines and forfeitures.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: December 1, 2012

A federal judge in Tulsa has ordered the former CEO of an oil and natural gas company behind a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme to pay nearly $500,000 in fines and forfeitures.

Brian D. Fox, the former chief executive of Powder River Petroleum International Inc., maintains he did nothing wrong, even though he signed off on a judgment against him that had been sought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Powder River had been accused of defrauding investors in Asia out of more than $38 million, promising a 9 percent annual return on working interests in oil and natural gas properties in several states.

Authorities said Fox created a Ponzi scheme by paying existing obligations from new investments.

The company was based in Calgary, Canada, but authorities alleged it conducted its investor-related activities from an office in Tulsa.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan on Nov. 2 ordered Fox to forfeit $320,000 he received as a bonus in 2007 based on inflated income reports, plus almost $60,000 in interest. Fox also must pay a $100,000 fine.

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