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John N. Ehrman, a Houston-based businessman, was indicted last week by the Department of Justice for his alleged involvement in a $2.3 million lease investment fraud.

Ehrman, 59, is facing 29 counts of wire fraud and seven counts of engaging in monetary transactions for property derived from from specified unlawful activity, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said.

The charges were officially filed on December 16 in the southern district of Texas.

The indictment alleges that from March to December 2010, while he was serving as president of Woodlands Oil and Gas, Ehrman defrauded investors by falsely reporting that he owned oil and gas leases on the McFadden Ranch in Victoria County, Texas.

He allegedly claimed he would sell participation interests in the ranch when he held no ownership interest in the property.

Prosecutors claim Ehrman accumulated more than $2.3 million from investors before the fraud was discovered.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.

If convicted of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity he could face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

All counts also carry a potential $250,000 fine.

The indictment contains a notice seeking forfeiture of $2,384,500.

Ehrman made his first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Hanks on December 23.

This is not the first time Ehrman has run afoul of federal investigators.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to a false filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission while he was serving as president of Rocky Mountain Energy Corporation.

Enhram served six months in prison and was released in March 2011.