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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Kansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Indictment: Hillsboro Man Made $7.9 Million With Oil and Gas Fraud Scheme

WICHITA, KAN. - A Hillsboro man was indicted Tuesday on charges of carrying out a $7.9 million oil and gas fraud scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

David K. Lawson, 70, Hillsboro, Kan., is charged with one count of wire fraud. The indictment alleges the crime occurred while Lawson was the owner and director of Sonstone Trading, LLC.

Lawson made a deal for Sonstone to sell 90 barrels a day of crude oil to Parnon Gathering, Inc. Crude oil is unrefined oil produced from oil wells. What Sonstone provided to Parnon was in fact not crude oil. It was raw gas oil (RGO), which is a mixture of various refined petroleum products with a very low vapor pressure and a lesser commercial value.

For more information on oil and gas fraud from the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, see www.stopfraud.gov/oil-gas-fwg.html

If convicted, Lawson faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000 and restitution. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting.

 

OTHER GRAND JURY INDICTMENTS

Drew Alan Reed, 42, El Dorado, Kan., and Timothy Wayne Rosenbaum, Augusta, Kan., are charged with making false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer when purchasing a gun at Cabela’s, 2447 N. Greenwich in Wichita. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Dec. 3, 2014.

If convicted, they face a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.

Jonathan C. Wolfinbarger, 54, Wakeeney, Kan., and Steven R. Hansen, 62, Fontana, Calif., are charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of using the U.S. mails in furtherance of drug trafficking. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in June and July 2015 in Trego County, Kan.

If convicted, they face a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million on the possession count, and up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the mail count. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service Investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

Random Shane Smith, 36, Wichita, Kan., is charged in counts one and two with aggravated sexual abuse, in count three with production of child pornography, in count four with possessing child pornography; and in count five with tampering with a witness. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2014, 2015, and 2016 at McConnell Air Force Base.

Smith initially was charged in a criminal complaint filed May 13 in U.S. District Court in Wichita. The indictment adds to the charges in the complaint one count of possession of child pornography and one count of tampering with a witness.

Upon conviction counts one and two carry a penalty of up to life and a fine up to $250,000 on each count; count three carries a penalty of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years and a fine up to $250,000; count four carries a penalty of up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000; and count five carries a penalty of up to 20 years and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI and the Air Force OSI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart is prosecuting.

Vernon J. Walker, 45, Wichita, Kan., and Tabitha A. Hanchett, 35, Wichita, Kan., are charged in count one with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In addition, Walker is charged in count two with unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, in count three with unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction and in count four with unlawful possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Jan. 15, 2016, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

Upon conviction, count one carries a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $5 million; count two carries a penalty of not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000; and counts three and four carry a penalty of up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000. The Wichita Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

Rhonda J. Smith, 47, Wichita, Kan., is charged with two counts of money laundering to conceal funds from a bankruptcy trustee. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2013 in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, she faces a penalty of up to 20 years and a fine up to $500,000 on each count. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting.

Carlos Alejandro Casas-Pulido, 33, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a person unlawfully in the United States, and one count of unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, 2016, in Ford County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of up 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the firearm charge, and a penalty of up to two years and a fine up to $250,000 on the re-entry charge. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Fidelina Morales-Escobar, 25, a citizen of Guatemala, is charged in count one with document fraud, in count two with making a false statement on an employment verification form, in count three with misusing a Social Security number, and in count four with aggravated identity theft. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2014 and 2016 in Harper County, Kan.

If convicted, she faces a penalty in count one of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000; in counts two and three a penalty of up to five years and fine up to $250,000; and in count four a mandatory penalty of two years in prison consecutive to the underlying sentence and a fine up to $250,000. Homeland Security Investigations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Angel Adan Prado-Neri, 36, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with one count of unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. He was found May 3, 2016, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement Removal Operations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Nicholas A. Moore, 33, who is in custody in Lyon County, is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction. The crime is alleged to have occurred Jan. 5, 2016, in Emporia, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated May 24, 2016