Oil, gas lease promoter settles SEC fraud charges

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 7 -- The proprietor of a Massachusetts company, which "sold" interests in oil and gas leases agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle fraud charges, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Jan. 5.

SEC said Howard Graham, principal of Braintree Energy Inc., which was based in Cheshire, Mass., agreed on Dec. 23 to repay almost $3 million of investors' funds, which he allegedly diverted to his personal use. Without admitting or denying the allegations, he consented to the entry of a final judgment in federal court in Massachusetts ordering him to pay nearly $3.3 million, including prejudgment interest and a $120,000 penalty, the SEC said.

Graham and Braintree offered and sold unregistered securities in the form of investment contracts or fractional interests in oil and gas leases, according to the civil complaint, which the SEC filed on Feb. 20, 2007.

It said the company, which is no longer in business, and its principal made numerous oral and written misrepresentations during 2000-06 to more than 200 US and non-US investors regarding the expected level of return, level of profits, and risks associated with the investments.

The SEC charged in its complaint that Graham and Braintree raised at least $9 million, and that the company and its employees led investors to believe that Braintree's offerings were not risky, that the company had never offered interests in oil and gas wells that did not produce, and that investors' money was safer there than in certificates of deposit.

In fact, most investors received no profits and most did not recover even their initial investments, the SEC said in its complaint.

It said that the court's final judgment also enjoins Graham from violating antifraud, securities registration, and broker-dealer registration provisions of federal securities laws. The SEC said that it also obtained a default judgment against Braintree Energy, permanently enjoining it from violating federal securities laws.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

White House eyes steps to curb oil, gas methane emissions

03/29/2014 The White House announced additional steps to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations as part of a broader strategy. They included reg...

FWS lists lesser prairie chicken as threatened species

03/28/2014 The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. While the Mar. 27 final rule fell short of the endanger...

NGSA asks Congress to pass bills facilitating LNG exports

03/27/2014 The Natural Gas Supply Association called on Congress to support legislation that would facilitate more LNG exports. “Exporting LNG overseas will h...

IHS: Western sanctions indirectly could hinder Russian oil, gas revenues

03/27/2014 Western sanctions imposed against Russian government officials and business executives regarding Russia’s conflict with Ukraine could slow the avai...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected