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Articles Posted in Oil and Gas Claims

Nine Energy Service Bonds Expected to Deteriorate Further

Nine Energy Service, Inc. (NINE) recently announced that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) found that the oilfield services company was once more in compliance with the stock exchange’s continued listing standard. 

The news comes less than two months after the NYSE notified the Houston-based company of its noncompliance with this standard after its common stock’s share price dropped to under $1/share over 30 trading days in a row. The $1/share price is the minimum closing price per share allowed for a stock to stay on the NYSE.

SSEK Investigating Financial Advisor That Recommended Unsuitable MLPs To Investors 

Shepherd, Smith, Edwards & Kantas, a law firm specializing in representing wronged investors, is looking into allegations against financial advisors that concentrated their clients in Alerian MLP ETF (“AMLP”) and other oil & gas related master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) amid the significant downturn in oil prices since February.  

What Is The AMLP Fund? 

ETF Investors Of United States Oil Fund May Not Have Known Full Extent Of Risks

Our investment fraud lawyers are offering free case consultations to investors who’ve lost money in the United States Oil Fund (USO) after it dropped 30%. The exchange-traded security continues to make changes to its structure in an attempt to stave off more losses. Part of this now involves giving itself the leeway to get into long-term contracts. The USO exchange-traded fund (ETF), which keeps track of oil prices, is popular among retail investors. 

Unfortunately, many of these investors think they are betting on oil prices’ long-term rise and do not fully comprehend how the futures market operates or that these types of funds hold primarily short-dated oil futures contracts and should never be held long-term. 

The Drop In Oil Prices Could Lead To Losses For Midstream MLP Investors 

With oil and energy stocks continuing to fall – Saudi Arabia’s threat to globally distribute millions of barrels of crude oil in order to win the oil price war over the United States and Russia has only exacerbated these declines. Investors may be wondering – what does this mean for Midstream Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs)? 

At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm), our MLP investment fraud lawyers work with investors that have sustained significant losses caused by fraud or negligence. 

Enbridge Inc. (ENB) has consolidated its acquisition of master limited partnership (MLP) operations in Texas by approving the acquisition of all outstanding Enbridge Energy Partners LP (EEP) public Class A common units, as well as all outstanding Enbridge Energy Management LLC (EEQ) public listed shares. Two deals had been earmarked with an over $3.5B value when news of their pending purchase became public knowledge a few months ago.

Both MLPs will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). They will now become Enbridge subsidiaries.

News of the completed acquisitions came just days after Enbridge fulfilled its acquisition of Spectra Energy Partners, which is also an MLP based in Houston. In September, Enbridge announced it would acquire what was left of Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. (ENF), which is based in Canada.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced this week that Christopher Faulkner, a Texas businessman, will pay $23.8M to settle oil and gas charges involving an alleged over $80M securities scam that bilked hundreds of investors. Faulkner, who called himself the “Frack Master” and claimed to be an expert in hydraulic fracturing, is accused of setting up several companies and then selling interests in oil and gas prospects to investors in Texas and other US states.

The regulator contends that Faulkner:

  • “Systematically deceived” investors through offering materials that were “false and misleading.”

Last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced plans to stop oil and gas pipelines from being able to structure themselves as Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) in order to get an income tax allowance for rates that are cost-of-service. Under the existing model, MLP customers pay a price that is regulated, part of which takes care of corporate tax charges.

Master Limited Partnerships aren’t required to pay corporate taxes since they pass through entities that distribute pre-tax earnings to unitholders. The latter are the ones that pay the taxes.

Any new rule related to this matter would likely not go into effect until 2020. Still, the government agency’s news affected trading on a number of MLPs, including the Alerian MLP ETF (exchange-traded fund), Energy Transfer Partners, TC PipeLines, Williams Partners, Crossamerica Partners, and several others.

Valor Capital Asset Management LLC and its owner, Texas-based investment adviser Robert Mark Magee, have settled US Securities and Exchange Commission charges accusing them of defrauding investors by engaging in cherry picking. As part of the settlement, Magee is banned from the securities industry and will pay over $715K.

The SEC contends that while trading securities in the firm’s omnibus account, Magee would wait to allocate the trades until after watching their performances throughout the day. He would then allocate a disproportionate amount of the more profitable trades to his accounts while sending the trades that were not profitable to his clients. This allowed him to profit at cost to clients. The SEC believes that his ill-gotten gains from cherry picking was over $505K.

For example, notes the SEC, the way in which Magee traded and allocated El Pollo Loco Holdings is “representative” of how he allegedly engaged in cherry picking. For five trading days in a row, trades in LOCO that were profitable went to his own account. When the price went down on the sixth day, he allocated the shares to six Valor client accounts instead of selling the shares at a loss.

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against Ameratex Energy, Inc., Lewis Oil Company, Lewis Oil Corp., their CEO Thomas Lewis, and ex-Ameratex President William Fort over their alleged involvement in an $11.7M Texas oil and gas offering fraud. The companies are based in Plano, Texas.

According to the regulator, the companies and the two men sold unregistered securities to more than 150 investors while making misleading statements about how the proceeds would be used. They also allegedly provided false information regarding prospect wells and sales commissions, as well as provided “false guarantees” regarding the lending out and mingling of funds.

The securities that they offered were not registered with the SEC. The individuals selling the investments were not licensed brokers or associated with brokers that were registered.

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State Regulator Orders Cessation of $4M Oil and Gas Offering

In an Emergency Cease and Desist Order, the Texas Securities Commissioner has ordered Parker R. Hallam and Jason A. Gilbert, two Dallas residents, to stop their efforts to raise $4.4M in an oil and gas offering. The two men are accused of fraud allegations.

Hallam and Gilbert have been offering investors interest in a well project that would be based in Kansas. They reportedly intend to take $1M of investor funds as a management fee payment to SourceRock Energy Phoenix Prospect LP, which is the company that they do business as. Meantime, the rest of the funds would go toward leasing and building the well field. The two men have not, however, told investors that drilling costs are estimated to be at just around $750K.

Hallam also is accused of failing to tell investors that in 2016, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued him and others over their alleged involvement in an $80M oil and gas fraud. Also, according to the Texas securities regulator, Gilbert failed to disclose that the Internal Revenue Service previously filed $548K in tax liens against him. The government agency also filed liens against Hallam, who has yet to pay nearly $143K of what he owes.

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