The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday filed suit in federal court in Dallas, Texas alleging that Charles O. Couch of Irving, Texas and his company Couch Oil & Gas, Inc. used fraud to raise nearly $10 million from more than 200 investors in two unregistered offerings of oil and gas securities.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that offering documents prepared and distributed by Crouch and his company from 2010 through 2012 falsely claimed that investors would receive working interests in oil and gas wells.
But in fact Couch and Couch Oil & Gas retained those working interests and never transferred them to investors.
The complaint also alleges that Couch falsely represented to investors that most or all of their funds would be used to drill and complete the wells.
But the investors weren’t told that about 30% of their funds would be used to make sales commission payments to unregistered brokers.
The SEC complaint also alleges that the defendants made” unsubstantiated and highly inflated projections concerning potential oil and gas production.”
Couch also “falsely portrayed to investors that [he] was experienced and successful at radial jet drilling technology.”
The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions against Couch and Couch Oil, as well disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties.