Oil and Gas Executive Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Fraud and Conspiracy in Offerings of Western Pipeline Corp. Securities
DALLAS — John Arthur Apple, Jr., 53, of Lewisville, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $53 million in restitution, following his guilty plea in January 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud stemming from his involvement in offerings of Western Pipeline Corporation securities. Judge Lindsay ordered Apple to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on June 12, 2012. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, from October 2006 to July 2007, Apple was the majority owner of Western Pipeline, and through Western Pipeline he raised money from investors by selling and causing others, including co-conspirators Christopher Scott Jent, Clifford Duane Stahl, Mickey Glen Horn and James Timothy “J.T.” Nealy, to sell investments in purported oil and gas development projects. Apple and his co-conspirators misled, deceived and defrauded prospective investors by misrepresenting and failing to disclose material facts. As part of their roles, the co-conspirators assumed false identities when communicating with prospective investors, and, in the guise of those false identities, claimed to be investors in past Western Pipeline oil and gas development projects that supposedly had been successful.
Jent, Stall, Horn and Nealy have separately pleaded guilty to securities fraud or conspiracy charges based on their involvement with Western Pipeline. Stahl and Nealy have each been sentenced to four years in federal prison. Stahl was ordered to pay $2 million in restitution, and Nealy was ordered to pay approximately $53 million in restitution. Jent and Horn are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Securities fraud is a major focus of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
U.S. Attorney Saldaña praised the investigative work of the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in bringing these cases. The Western Pipeline cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Buie.
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