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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Former Energy Company Executive Sentenced in Embezzlement Scheme

HOUSTON – The former CEO of Chase Power Development has been ordered to federal prison following his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. John David Upchurch, 54, of Spring, pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2017.


Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake handed Upchurch a 24-month sentence to be immediately followed by two years of supervised release. He previously paid restitution in the amount of $1.5 million.


Houston-based Quintana Capital Group created Chase Power in order to head start an energy project in Corpus Christi. In July 2008, Upchurch was hired as CEO.


From about June 2008 to about June 2012, Upchurch embezzled a significant amount of money from Chase Power. Throughout his employment with Chase Power, he submitted false invoices for fake projects in order to receive company funds for personal expenses, such as personal travel, hotels, country club memberships, personal car restoration, fishing equipment and a hunting trip. He either mailed the company checks upon issuance or personally took the checks to the merchants.


In addition, Upchurch used his company American Express credit card for his own personal purchases. He would segregate illegitimate American Express expense account summaries and self-approve them for payment on personal items and expenditures.


Upchurch was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.


The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting this case.

Financial Fraud
Updated June 23, 2017