TULSA — A former Tulsa oil and natural gas executive has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for bilking investors out of nearly $7 million.
Texas resident Jimmy E. Morrisett, 53, admitted in March to defrauding investors as CEO of Red Earth Resources Inc. and joint venture member manager of Alpine Petroleum LLC between the fall of 2004 and January 2007.
Prosecutors said Morrisett maintained an elaborate Ponzi scheme for more than two years, fooling his employees as well as his investors, while enjoying a lavish lifestyle at home and the office.
Morrisett and his wife had two Mercedes, an Infiniti SUV and a Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra in their driveway. They also owned two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and a pink motor scooter, according to court papers. The couple also rented a Mercedes for their nanny.
“Their uncurbed appetite for more, more, more knew only the bounds of the credulity and pocketbooks of investors around the nation, at least until the FBI came knocking,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
“For over two years Morrisett engineered a scheme to defraud hundreds of investors, from all over the country and beyond, out of millions of dollars. He did so to live large, regardless of the financial havoc that his actions wreaked upon his victims. For many, Morrisett's actions immeasurably altered their lives forever.”
Prosecutors said Morrisett defrauded 238 investors in Oklahoma and 37 more in other states and Canada.
U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell on Thursday sentenced him to the maximum prison term allowed under federal law. He also ordered Morrisett to pay more than $6.8 million in restitution.