United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2007 PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe CELL: (409) 553-9881
RICHARDSON MAN GUILTY OF INVESTMENT SCHEME
SHERMAN, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a 56-year-old Richardson man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges in the Eastern District of Texas.
ULRIC JACK SWEESY a/k/a JACK TAYLOR admitted to obtaining over $65 million from investors in a fraudulent oil and gas well scheme today before United States Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush.
According to information presented in court, beginning in 1997 through July 2005, Sweesy devised and executed a scheme to defraud investors. Sweesy owned and operated Quality Petroleum, Inc., Americana Oil & Gas Corp., Ameri-Q Energy, Inc., and Prairie Resources, Inc. ("the companies"). Sweesy directed the activities of salespersons offering and selling fractional interests in oil and gas well programs throughout the United States. As part of the scheme, a virtual office facility operating out of La Jolla, California was established to make it appear to investors that two of the companies were formed and operating in California. Investors were also falsely told that their funds would be used to drill, test, complete, equip, and operate oil and gas well programs.
Sweesy admitted that he misrepresented that program wells had been drilled and were producing oil and gas when they were not. Sweesy also admitted that investors were sent checks which were represented to be revenue from the wells, when they were not. Investors were also falsely told that the company offering the project retained a 25% interest in well programs when it did not.
Sweesy admitted that he failed to disclose relevant facts to investors including that the Texas State Securities Board had ordered Sweesy not offer securities in Texas; that he had previously been convicted for mail fraud in connection with selling vacation packages; and that he had consented to the entry of a Permanent Injunction enjoining him from selling oil and gas interests by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sweesy also failed to inform investors that the companies offering the interests in oil and gas well programs were not registered as required by law and were not making required filings with the Texas Railroad Commission.
Sweesy's guilty plea follows a related guilty plea by 36-year-old BLAKE LANG CUMMINGS of Allen, Texas. Cummings pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with the scheme on July 31, 2007. According to court documents, Cummings was employed by Americana, America-Q, and Prairie as a salesperson responsible for offering and selling fractional undivided working interests in various oil and gas well programs to Investors and managed other salespersons' activities at those companies.
Sweesy faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. Cummings faces up to 5 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date for either man has not been set at this time.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the State Securities Board of Texas. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terri L. Hagan.
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