Three local men including a former Continental Resources employee who were accused of diverting unclaimed royalties to enrich themselves recently pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in Oklahoma City, court records show.
Story Credit: The Oklahoman, By Jack Money
Casey Jobe, an Edmond man who at one time was a former division order analyst at Continental Resources; Anthony Hilbers, of Edmond; and Brandon Colbert of Oklahoma City each pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge, according to court records.
Jobe, Hilbers and Colbert each face having to serve up to five years in prison, having to pay fines of up to $250,000 and having to spend another three years after being released under federal supervision.
Jobe also agreed to repay $474,027 he was accused of collecting through the scam, while Hilbers agreed to repay $673,757.62.
As part of his plea agreement, Colbert agreed to repay his take as part of the scheme as well. However, a specific dollar amount was not disclosed by the agreement he signed.
Sentencing hearings for the three men have not yet been scheduled.
The guilty pleas follow indictments issued by a grand jury more than a year ago.
The indictment accused Jobe, who worked for Continental Resources from late 2011 through late 2013, of working with one other unnamed co-conspirator who worked at the company until late 2015 of using their jobs to execute the scam.
Through their employment at Continental Resources, where they researched ownership of oil and gas mineral interests, they were accused of diverting payments involving wells with owned mineral rights where rightful owners could not be located into companies the three defendants had created.
Specifically, they were accused of forging 15 fraudulent deeds that conveyed the mineral interests to various entities they controlled, of filing those deeds in counties where producing properties were located, and then of submitting those fraudulent deeds to Continental, causing it to wire royalty payments of $1.7 million to companies they created.
Once that money had been transferred, the indictment accused the three men of dividing up the proceeds among themselves by moving it into other accounts they controlled.
Those funds instead should have been sent to states where the wells were located, where they typically are placed into unclaimed property fund, court records indicate.
The cases against Jobe, Hilbers and Colbert are unrelated to a civil suit filed in Oklahoma County District Court by Continental Resources against Oklahoma City attorney Blaine Dyer and numerous other parties that accuses them of creating a royalties scheme to steal directly from the energy giant.
That case remains pending as a judge decides whether or not to dismiss the action.
Credit: Jack Money, The Oklahoman, Business Writer Jack Money covers Oklahoma’s energy and agricultural beats for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com
ATTENTION MINERAL OWNERS: