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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chairman And CEO Of Purported Oil And Gas Company Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With $300 Million International Fraud Scheme

Raheem J. Brennerman Charged with Operating Wide-Ranging Scheme to Fraudulently Obtain Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Bank Financing

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RAHEEM J. BRENNERMAN, a/k/a “Jefferson R. Brennerman,” a/k/a “Ayodeji Soetan,” has been charged with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and visa fraud in connection with a wide-ranging international scheme to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar business loans for several companies controlled by BRENNERMAN, including The Blacksands Pacific Group, Inc. BRENNERMAN was arrested yesterday in New Jersey, presented today before United States District Judge Richard Sullivan, and ordered detained.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, for years Raheem J. Brennerman conned financial institutions and investors into extending loans to his phony businesses. Instead of using that money on actual business deals, Brennerman spent millions on himself, paying personal expenses including on international travel, luxury hotels and fine jewelry. Having perpetrated this multi-million dollar fraud, Brennerman allegedly took elaborate steps to cover it up. We thank our law enforcement partners for their excellent work in uncovering this fraud.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

BRENNERMAN, from at least in or about 2011, has orchestrated a scheme to defraud financial institutions through his operation of a purported oil and gas company called The Blacksands Pacific Group, Inc. (“Blacksands Pacific”), as well as several subsidiaries and associated corporate entities. BRENNERMAN sought financing for purported business deals by falsely representing that Blacksands Pacific had significant worldwide involvement in the exploration and development of oil and gas reserves, produced over 10,000 barrels of oil per day, had over $1 billion in long-term assets and over 100 million barrels of proved oil reserves, and employed approximately 100 employees, when, in fact, BRENNERMAN knew that Blacksands Pacific lacked any long-term assets, and had, at most, a few employees and minimal involvement in the oil and gas industry. As part of the fraudulent scheme, BRENNERMAN also lied about his name, place of birth, citizenship, and finances, and invented fake employees. Once BRENNERMAN received financing from victims based on his false statements, BRENNERMAN used significant amounts of the money to pay his own personal expenses, including the lease of a luxury condominium in Las Vegas, Nevada, and stays at expensive hotels (including thousands of dollars’ worth of in-room dining service), as well as the purchase of international flights to Europe, chartered car services, fine jewelry, high-end designer clothing, and spa treatments. In total, BRENNERMAN attempted to defraud financial institutions of more than $300 million.

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BRENNERMAN, 39, of Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and one count of bank fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of visa fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the Criminal Investigators for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He also thanked the United States Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada for their assistance.

On March 3, 2017, BRENNERMAN and Blacksands Pacific were charged in a separate case in Manhattan federal court with criminal contempt of court. That case is pending before United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan and is scheduled for trial on September 7, 2017.

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If you have any information regarding BRENNERMAN, please report it by phone at 212-637-2267 or by email at justin.ellard@usdoj.gov.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicolas Landsman-Roos and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
17-159
Updated June 1, 2017