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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Man Indicted for Frac Sand Ponzi Scheme

MIDLAND – Last week a federal grand jury in Midland returned an indictment charging a Keller, Texas man with operating a Ponzi scheme.

According to court documents, Marco Perez, Jr., aka Sully Perez, 41, is the founder and director of Permian Basin Proppants, Inc. (PBP), a company headquartered in Midland that sells proppants such as sand for fracking operations.  Between 2017 and 2022, Perez allegedly used PBP to perpetuate a Ponzi scheme by soliciting investor money based on misrepresentations.  During this time, Perez took in over $11 million through the scheme.  He used most of the funds for his own personal benefit, buying luxury vehicles, property and vacations.

According to the indictment, Perez offered victims the opportunity to fund or invest in PBP transactions.  However, the representations Perez allegedly made were based on false and misleading promises, such as promising victims that their investments would be used to purchase frac sand at a discount and then be resold at a profit to fracking operations in and around the Permian Basin. Investors also were promised they would receive back their entire investment plus an additional return.  Perez rarely used the investment money to purchase frac sand or complete promised transactions. Instead, he is accused of diverting significant amounts of investor money to pay for his personal expenses and to keep the scheme running, such as by making payments to prior PBP investors.

Perez is charged with 12 counts of Wire Fraud and six counts of Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity. The defendant is scheduled for a detention hearing next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald C. Griffin of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud counts and up to 10 years in prison on each of the money laundering counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas; FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Division; and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Regional Director David Peavler, Fort Worth Office, made the announcement.

The FBI and SEC are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John A. Fedock and Fidel Esparza are prosecuting the case.

If you feel you have been a victim of a fraud scheme, contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or call 800-CALL-FBI.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 1, 2022