The US’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has cracked down on a total of four companies and eight individuals in a collective $80 million oil and gas racket, run by Chris Faulkner, who operated under the alias “the Frack Master”, according to an SEC statement.
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Faulkner had expertise in hydraulic fracturing, and was even a frequent guest on a number of media sites, including such venues as CNBC, CNN International, Fox Business News, and the BBC – in this capacity he appeared as an oil and gas expert, though was also the CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation (BECC).
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The SEC has charged him with seeding false statements, as well as the misappropriation of millions of dollars of investor funds and multiple attempts to manipulate BECC’s stock. Per the SEC complaint, Faulkner was running the illegal operations since 2011, possibly longer, via a privately-held Breitling Oil and Gas Corporation (BOG).
In addition, the SEC also alleged that the offering of materials by Faulkner included reports by a licensed geologist and confidant, Joseph Simo, that included production projections that were a sham as well as failing to disclose his affiliation with BOG
The SEC estimated that Faulkner misappropriated at least $30 million in investor funds for personal expenses, which ranged from meals and entertainment to international travel, cars, jewelry, gentlemen’s clubs, and personal escorts. Faulkner was not alone in these allegations, as the SEC also alleged that Beth Handkins and Rick Hoover, the former CFO of BECC, and Jeremy Wagers, BECC’s general counsel and COO, all managed to played instrumental roles in assisting Faulkner in the fraudulent operations.
According to Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Regional Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional office, in a recent statement on the complaint: “Chris Faulkner allegedly orchestrated a sophisticated and multilayered scheme using BECC and its affiliated entities as a conduit to access millions of investor dollars. The financing for Faulkner’s opulent lifestyle came directly at the expense of unwitting investors across the country.”