The chairman of an oil and gas promotions company was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week on charges for defrauding investors out of $2.5 million.
David Lewis, chairman of Always Consulting Inc. in Richardson, Texas had been found guilty by a federal judge in September.
He was charged with multiple counts of securities fraud after a federal investigation into an Oklahoma oil and gas project called the Rattlesnake Springs Drilling Program.
Lewis, 52, lied to investors and used their money to fund other projects, according to the charges.
Investors were drawn in through cold calls and scripted pitches, prosecutors said.
Salespeople were given “do not call” lists with names of people and numbers suspected of being undercover federal agents.
The company’s CEO Bruce Griffith, 59, was falsely described as getting his start in the oil business by flying oil executives abroad in the 1980s, the Justice Department said.
Griffith “was never a pilot, had little experience in the industry, and in fact, was a convicted felon, having been specifically convicted in federal court of bank robbery in 1994 and conspiracy to possess and utter counterfeit federal reserve notes in 1989,” the Justice Department said.
Lewis was also ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution.
His co-defendants — Griffith and Thomas Markham Jr. — pleaded guilty in December.
Always Consulting said in its offering material that Markham had more than 30 years in the oil and gas industry as a geologist, supervisor and manager.
But the offering didn’t disclose that Markham was a convicted felon, “having been convicted of mail fraud in 2000 in connection with an oil and gas offering, and that as part of his sentence, he was under court order to pay nearly $400,000 in restitution to defrauded investors,” the DOJ said.
Griffith was sentenced to more than 8 years in prison, and Markham, 63, received a 21-month sentence.