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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baden Man Defrauded Gas Company Of $440K In Gas Royalties

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Baden, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of mail fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Scott D. Hamilton, aka Art Follage, aka Michael Lewis, 37, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Hamilton defrauded CNX Gas Company of $440,216.35 by filing assignments of lease interests that contained forgeries and imaginary persons. The lease interests were located in Christian County, Illinois, and in Fayette County, WV. These lease interests entitled the owner to royalty payments for oil and gas extracted from the land. Hamilton used a fake company and a post office box to pull off the scheme.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for March 25, 2015. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

Updated July 14, 2015