DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                        PHONE: (409) 839-2538
                                                                                                 CELL: (409) 553-9881



TYLER, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a 39-year-old Tyler man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            KENNETH WILLIAM ELGIN entered his guilty plea today before United States Magistrate Judge John D. Love in Tyler.

            According to information presented in court, during 2004 and 2005, Elgin devised a scheme to defraud that included the formation of two Texas corporations, Trinidad Exploration, Inc., and West Coast Resources, Inc., purportedly for the purpose conducting oil and gas exploration.  Elgin was the President and Chief Executive Officer for both corporations.  Elgin then solicited an individual in the State of Washington to work with Elgin in the exploration of oil and gas in the State of Texas.  At the direction of Elgin, that individual solicited additional investors to invest in oil and gas exploration.  The additional investors invested a total of $750,000 in Elgin’s purported drilling venture.  The investors transferred their funds to bank accounts controlled by Elgin.  Elgin represented to investors, among other things, that West Coast had acquisition rights to or control of gas and mineral leases when in fact West Coast did not.  He also represented to investors that West Coast would drill a well on property in Shelby County, Texas when, in fact, neither West Coast nor Trinidad had any interest in the property and no drilling was ever commenced.  As part of the fraud, Elgin caused funds to be transferred by wire from and between various bank accounts and used investor funds for purposes other than investing.  

            Elgin could receive up to twenty years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  A sentencing date has not been set.

            The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Texas State Securities Board is investigating this case.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan R. Jackson and Texas State Securities Board attorney Suzanne M. Steinmetz.



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