United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2008 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881
TYLER MAN GUILTY OF FEDERAL WIRE FRAUD
TYLER, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a 39-year-old Tyler man has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for wire fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.
KENNETH WILLIAM ELGIN was also ordered to pay $805,000.00 in restitution today by United States District Judge Michael Schneider.
According to information presented in court, during 2004 and 2005, Elgin devised a fraud scheme 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 was charged with wire fraud in May 2007 and pleaded guilty to those charges in November 2007.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Texas State Securities Board investigated this case. The case was prosecuted by the late Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Rivers, Assistant United States Attorney Alan R. Jackson and Texas State Securities Board attorney Suzanne M. Steinmetz.
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