Enforcement Actions Criminal Civil

Aug 11
2016

Michael Anthony Collins: Sentenced, 15 Years

Michael Anthony Collins pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud, theft, and money laundering and was sentenced to 15 years on each count on Aug. 11 in Jim Wells County State District Court. The sentences will run concurrently. Collins was also ordered to pay restitution of $3 million. From...
May 26
2016

Nicholas Baratoff: Indicted

Nicholas Baratoff Jr. was indicted on May 26 in Nueces County State District Court on two counts of misapplication of fiduciary property and one count of theft. Baratoff operated an investment fraud in Nueces County from 2008 to 2015, according to the indictment. He allegedly sold investments tied...
May 24
2016

Allan George Cooper: Indicted

Allan George Cooper of Houston was arrested May 24 and charged with wire fraud and mail fraud in a $5 million investment fraud involving at least 50 victims. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas, a federal grand jury returned the indictment of Cooper under seal...
May 11
2016

Richard Leal Ferguson: Indicted

Richard Leal Ferguson of Harlingen, a two-time convicted felon, was indicted May 11 in Cameron County on charges of securities fraud and theft for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from investors for a small-business loan program. Ferguson sold investments in "fast track loan programs,"according...
May 11
2016

Ronald Erik Lewis: Indicted

Ronald Erik Lewis of New Braunfels was indicted May 11 by a grand jury in Comal County State District Court for theft of property, money laundering, and fraudulent sale of securities in connection with the sale of investments in a "Stealth Wealth Program." From 2008 to 2013, Lewis, directly and...
May 6
2016

William Allen Risinger: Sentenced, 13 Years

William Allen Risinger of Round Rock was sentenced to 160 months in federal prison on May 6 for stealing money from investors in oil, gas, and mineral venture schemes. Risinger raised an estimated $4.5 million from investors in the energy ventures. A money judgment was entered against Risinger that...
Apr 19
2016

Robert B. Hahn: Sentenced, 3 Years

The office of U.S. Attorney John M. Bales of the Eastern District of Texas on April 19 announced that Robert Hahn, a former insurance agent in Tyler, was sentenced to three years in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering. Hahn collected $5.4 million from investors who were promised...
Apr 14
2016

Patrick Lee Downing: Indicted

Patrick Lee Downing of Mesquite, who allegedly sold working interests in an oil and gas joint venture, was indicted April 14 in Dallas County Criminal District Court on charges of securities fraud and theft. Downing sold working interests in a project named the Stocker #1 Joint Venture to five...
Mar 29
2016

Derek A. Nelson: Sentenced, 19 Years

Derek A. Nelson was sentenced to 19 years in prison on March 29, one day after he was convicted of securities fraud in Collin County State District Court. Nelson operated a real-estate investment program that would supposedly buy and renovate distressed properties. Nelson sold approximately $37...
Feb 2
2016

Robert A. Helms, Janniece S. Kaelin: Indicted

Robert Allen Helms and Janniece S. Kaelin were indicted Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court in Austin on conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud charges based on their sales of investments in oil and gas royalties. Helms and Kaelin operated their company as a Ponzi scheme, according to the indictment...