Source: Securities and Exchange Commission
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed charges against securities fraud recidivist and radio show host Mark Plummer, Mike Barrera, and five other individuals and entities, for allegedly conducting an oil and gas offering fraud and operating as unregistered broker-dealers.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Plummer and his company, Richmond Engineering, Inc., began this fraud while under investigation by the SEC for a different alleged fraudulent scheme, for which the SEC charged him in June 2019. As alleged, to hide his involvement in the new scheme, Plummer partnered with one of his former salesman, Mike Barrera. The complaint alleges that Plummer used his radio show to solicit investors interested in oil and gas investment opportunities to Barrera’s company, Petroleum Resources of Texas. The complaint further alleges that Barrera misled investors about his and Petroleum Resources’ experience in the oil and gas industry, hid Plummer’s role in the ventures, and then misappropriated investor funds to pay for shopping sprees, post his criminal bail, divert money to Plummer, and make Ponzi payments to investors. According to the complaint, Barrera and Petroleum Resources raised over $7 million from more than 70 investors. The complaint also alleges that Barrera, Todd Prince, recidivist George Rauch, and Todd Breitling solicited and sold securities without being registered as brokers.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Dallas, Texas, charges Plummer and Richmond Engineering with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a)(1) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder. The complaint also charges Barrera and Petroleum Resources with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5(b) thereunder. The complaint further charges Barrera, Prince, Rauch, and Breitling with violating the broker-dealer registration provisions of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act, and charges Plummer with aiding and abetting those violations. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against all defendants, and also seeks conduct-based injunctions and officer-and-director bars against Plummer and Barrera.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Jason A. Braun and Ayesha Ahmed, and supervised by Jim Etri and Eric R. Werner. The litigation will be led by Jennifer D. Reece and Keefe Bernstein, and supervised by B. David Fraser. The SEC acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of the Texas State Securities Board.