Leland Energy Inc. to return $700,000 to investors in fraud case

An oil and gas company executive and his sales agent have agreed to return $700,000 to Colorado investors that they defrauded, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies said Monday.

Leland Energy Inc. President Stephen M. Thompson, of Beverly Hills, Calif., and Joseph Finateri, one of Leland’s sales agents in Henderson, Nev., allegedly defrauded numerous Colorado investors in connection with investments in Leland’s oil wells and gas drilling operations.

Leland employed unlicensed sales agents who used lead lists to cold call prospective investors to invest in Leland oil and gas drilling projects in Adams and Weld counties, as well as in Tennessee, according to the state of Colorado.

During a two-year period starting in May 2010, Leland raised more than $850,000 from more than 20 Colorado investors. The allegations include Thompson and Finateri’s failure to disclose to investors their prior legal troubles with other securities regulators and Finateri’s prior criminal history.

In January 2013, the state of Rhode Island ordered Leland and Thompson to stop violating the state’s securities act. In January 2012, the state of California issued a similar order. Finateri was convicted of felony conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in 2007.

“We continue to see many suspect oil and gas deals come through our office,” Acting Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome said in a statement. “Oil and gas investments tend to be highly risky and unsuitable for traditional, smaller investors.”  

“Investors should be wary of any investment opportunity when they are cold called by promoters, and check these offerings with our office,” Rome said.  

Thompson and Finateri, without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed that they would not further violate the Colorado Securities Act, according to the statement.

Thompson said he could not comment on the statement because he had not seen it.


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