Jury Convicts Oil Company Owner of Fraud
OKLAHOMA CITY – A jury has convicted KEVIN WIECK, 52, of Cromwell, Oklahoma, on ten counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering.
On July 3, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a fifteen-count superseding indictment against Wieck, who owned and operated Wieck Oil Company, LLC. According to the indictment, Wieck’s fraudulent scheme involved two types of oil wells: three "vertical" wells and a "horizontal" well. Wieck sold working interests in the vertical wells that supposedly guaranteed investors percentages of oil revenue. He allegedly kept the majority of the money for himself rather than paying investors. Wieck sold and attempted to sell percentages of his supposed ownership interest in the horizontal well, when he in fact never actually owned—and therefore had no right to sell—any portion of that well. The five money laundering counts involved transfers of criminal proceeds in amounts larger than $10,000 between bank accounts. According to the indictment, Wieck fled to Mexico around late August 2014. He has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since April 11, 2018.
Trial began on September 11, 2018. Eight investors from Tulsa, Edmond, Michigan, Illinois, and elsewhere testified about Wieck’s false promises and misrepresentations in connection with the vertical wells. These investors had invested cash, co-signed loans with Wieck, or provided in-kind services such as drilling, road work, and construction on the wells at reduced rates. Two investors testified that Wieck solicited investments in the horizontal well. A local energy company executive who later assumed control of the three vertical wells confirmed that Wieck had a right to participate in the horizontal well but had never paid to exercise that right. He further explained that Wieck filed oil and gas assignments late and failed to secure division orders to pay investors directly. Instead, he exercised a "quick pay" option, which funneled all revenue into his own bank accounts.
An FBI forensic accountant confirmed during trial that Wieck received more than $1.17 million in revenue and—even after production and operating costs—pocketed at least $600,000, in addition to the value of investors’ in-kind contributions. Wieck’s ex-wife corroborated that she and Wieck splurged on hotel stays, vacations, and large purchases when investments came in.
After three days of testimony, a jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning guilty verdicts on all counts on September 14.
Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days. Wieck could receive twenty years in prison on each count of mail fraud and ten years on each count of money laundering. Each conviction could also carry a fine of up to $250,000 and supervised release of up to three years. He will also be required to pay restitution to victims of his fraudulent scheme.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia E. Barry and William Farrior are prosecuting the case.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.