Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feds say ROW agent bilked DCP Midstream out of $624,426 in Eagle Ford Shale

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The FBI on April 19 took two men into custody and charged them with a fraud scheme that agents say bilked $624,426 from a company doing work in the Eagle Ford shale.

Jeff Clark, 36, and Daniel Chance, 48, were charged with wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracy in a federal indictment returned April 18 in San Antonio.

"The scams that we traditionally see in other areas ... are now making their way into this industry," said special agent Erik Vasys, spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio. "Wherever big money is involved, the scammers will come."

The FBI alleges Clark, of Kenedy, Texas, was the principal behind the scam. The indictment says he was hired by DCP Midstream L.P., a subsidiary of the Denver-based company that transports and markets natural gas, in May 2010 as a contract right-of-way damages agent. He was put under contract with Gilcrease & Partners, now known as G&P Land in San Antonio, which provides such agents, the indictment said.

Clark's job was to track compliance with landowner contracts, maintain contact with landowners, address their complaints and issue payments to them for damages to property resulting from pipeline construction. Like other DCP agents, he was given a DCP checkbook for the payments.

The indictment said Clark wrote DCP checks to buy items for his own personal use, and received kickbacks on checks he wrote to others - sometimes for damages that never occurred.

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