Today's Texas State Securities Board Action is Best Served with a Caffeinated Beverage - It's a Long Read About Long Running Oil and Gas Bad Actors

Jun 17

Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order against Emilio “Mike” Barrera, Jr., a McKinney resident now wearing a monitoring device while on house arrest, from allegedly promoting a fraudulent nationwide oil investment scheme.  

Barrera, who was recently prosecuted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reportedly controls Petroleum Resources of Texas.  Despite the criminal prosecution, the company, operating from Richardson, touts its “open and transparent relationships” built on “mutual trust and respect” earned by conducting itself with “honesty and integrity.”  

Barrera and Petroleum Resources are now offering investments in the Beeler 2H Joint Venture, according to the order.  Petroleum Resources allegedly controls the joint venture as it raises money from investors to drill a horizontal oil well in the Elkhart Field in Anderson County.  The well will supposedly generate lucrative profits - as much as a 221 percent annual return.

Barrera and Petroleum Resources are partnering with Smart Oil and Gas to promote a new fraudulent oil and gas investment opportunity, according to the order.  Smart Oil and Gas, acting from Richardson, has allegedly been marketing oil and gas investments through advertisements on Sirius XM ESPN and MSNBC Radio, podcasts available to the public, a radio show broadcast on a DFW station and an internet website.

According to the order, Smart Oil and Gas is controlled by Richardson oilman Mark Allen Plummer, a recidivist with a long history of misconduct.  The Securities Commissioner, the SEC and FINRA previously brought actions against Plummer, and Plummer was barred from the securities industry.  Arbitrators awarded more than $2.16 million against Plummer and companies under his control, a sales agent filed a lawsuit accusing the parties of misappropriating more than $1.16 million of investor funds and a court recently ordered Plummer to pay more than $1.5 million in damages to an investment victim.  

An oil and gas firm controlled by Plummer was placed into bankruptcy, according to the order.  The bankruptcy trustee alleged, despite the “economic meltdown” of his companies, they continued to use money for personal expenses.  The bankrupt company was unable to pay creditors with more than 160 claims totaling more than $20 million, but still paid millions of dollars to Plummer and firms, according to the trustee.

Barrera and Plummer previously worked in the oil and gas investment industry together, according to the trustee.  The trustee even filed a complaint against Barrera to recover more than $145,000.  Other investors also recently sued Barrera, Petroleum Resources and Plummer in Dallas County District Court. 

The order stops the fraudulent oil and gas scheme allegedly promoted by Barrera, Plummer, Petroleum Resources, and Smart Oil and Gas.  It also names Richmond Engineering, a company purportedly controlled by Plummer, and Todd Prince, a purported sales agent. 

The parties have 30 days to challenge the order.