Robert Allen Helms and Janniece S. Kaelin pleaded guilty April 11 to federal charges of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and mail fraud for swindling investors in companies that were supposedly purchasing oil and gas royalties.
Helms and Kaelin pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane in Austin. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28.
Helms, an Austin attorney, and Kaelin used a substantial part of investors' money to pay their personal expenses. The pair also operated their companies, which included Vendetta Royalty Partners Ltd. and Iron Rock Royalty Partners LP, as a Ponzi scheme by paying some investors their share of royalties with money from other investors.
Helms and Kaelin also forged documents to make it appear they were buying mineral and royalty purchases.
In December 2013 U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel appointed a receiver to take control of the pair's company. According to the receiver, Helms and Kaelin raised more than $30 million from investors.