Business partners Janniece Kaelin and Robert Allen Helms have pleaded guilty to bilking investors of up to $20M in a Texas-based Ponzi scam. The oil and gas financiers used the funds raised for energy ventures to cover their own expenses from 1/2010 to 12/2013.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Kaelin, Helms, and their companies Iron Rock Royalty Partners LP and Vendetta Royalty Partners LTD in 2013. According to the regulato, they misled investors about their professional experience, meantime raising almost $18M that were supposed to go toward royalty interests in oil and gas.
Included among the alleged purchases they made: using investors’ money to pay for a 3 1/2-week trip around the world and paying for the more than $247K wedding of Kaelin’s daughter in Hawaii.
At least 80 investors in over a dozen US states were drawn into this Texas-based securities scam. In offering documents, investors were told that more than 99% of investment proceeds would go toward acquiring these royalty interests.In the end, Kaelin and Helms only ended up investing 10% of the investment proceeds. Meantime, what they did invest only made very small returns. As for the Ponzi scam, money from newer investors was used to pay distributions to earlier investors.
Kaelin and Helms pleaded guilty to securities fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Unfortunately, becoming the victim of a Texas securities scam can happen and that is why Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP is here to help investors recoup their losses. It is important that you work with an experienced securities fraud law firm that can advocate on your behalf. This is not the type of case that you want to pursue without legal help. Contact our Texas oil and gas fraud attorneys to ask for your free case consultation.
Austin oil and gas financiers who took lavish vacations plead guilty to defrauding investors in Ponzi scheme, BizJournals, April 12, 2017