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.
The investors who were solicited were from more than three dozen US states and they bought into 13 offerings in “limited partnership oil drilling and operations programs” based in Kentucky.
Fort and Lewis are accused of “suppressing” online search results that would have warned investors that their oil and gas offering was a scam. They purportedly did this by hiring services that engaged in such tasks. This allowed employee and investor complaints that could have been found online to remain hidden. As a result, Lewis was allegedly able to misappropriate over $1M. The SEC complaint states that he “personally received” close to $2M of investors’ money.
Also accused in the alleged Texas oil and gas fraud are accountant Damon Fox, who is accused of categorizing information in books and records for the companies in a misleading manner and sending K-1 statements to investors that were false. Compliance coordinator Brian Bull is accused of making it possible for non-accredited investors to be solicited and accepted and of submitting false Forms D to the SEC.
Now, the SEC wants permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties imposed on the defendants.
Please contact our Texas securities fraud lawyers if you would like to explore whether you have grounds for a case.
Read the SEC Complaint (PDF)
More Blog Posts:
AriseBank in Dallas is Accused of Alleged $600M ICO Offering Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 29, 2018
Houston Technology Company is Accused of $28M Texas Securities Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 26, 2017
Fund Manager Accused of Losing $178M in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities is Barred from the Industry, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, February 16, 2018