Former Newfield Exploration Co. executive James Rhea Cooley sentenced in fraud case

Tulsa resident James Rhea Cooley was sentenced to 55 months in prison while defrauding his former employer, Newfield Exploration Co.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: May 29, 2014
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A former Newfield Exploration Co. executive has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for defrauding the company out of nearly $700,000.

James Rhea Cooley, 45, pleaded guilty in November to wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

The Tulsa resident had been charged with billing Newfield for services allegedly performed by a fake consulting company he had created while working there as a regional human resources manager.

Cooley spent the embezzled funds on personal expenses that included jewelry, airline tickets and a condominium in Mexico, according to federal prosecutors in Tulsa.

He was fired from Newfield in February 2011, and then pulled a similar scheme with his next employer, ConAgra Corp., prosecutors said. The company’s losses totaled about $70,000.

Prosecutors said Cooley defrauded ConAgra in 2012, after he already had admitted to fraud allegations at Newfield.

U.S. District Court Judge James H. Payne sentenced Cooley to 55 months in prison.

Cooley also must pay nearly $600,000 in restitution.


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