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Drumright man pleads guilty in $400,000 oil field fraud scam
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Drumright man pleads guilty in $400,000 oil field fraud scam

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A Drumright man pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in Tulsa federal court on Friday.

David Owen West, 59, admitted to defrauding an Illinois energy company for which he worked for years of more than $400,000.

West, at his change of plea hearing, confessed to the accusations in two mail fraud counts and one money laundering count as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

“David West was a trusted employee for close to 30 years at Petco Petroleum,” U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said in a statement to media. “He violated that trust by engaging in schemes to defraud his employer as West helped himself to more than $400,000 of the company’s money.”

A grand jury had charged West in a 30-count indictment that was unsealed Oct. 6.

The indictment alleged that West, while working for the Illinois oil and gas company between 2013 and 2017, caused losses totaling more than $400,000 to the company through theft and fraud.

The grand jury in December named West in a superseding indictment that added two more mail fraud counts, bringing the total to 27 counts along with the five original counts of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

The grand jury alleged that West stole oil and gas products from a company that hired him to manage wells and hire vendors and service companies to maintain the company’s wells.

The indictment alleged that West used a shell company called Flash Electric Services LLC to carry out his scheme, which involved selling well products that he stole.

The indictment also alleged West fraudulently used his shell company to bill his employer for some $7,000 in transportation costs associated with hauling the stolen well products.

West also billed his employer through Flash for nearly $130,000 in well maintenance that was never performed, according to the grand jury.

Shores thanked those who worked on the case.

“This prosecution exemplifies this office’s resolve to hold responsible individuals who profit from criminal deceit and embezzlement,” Shores said. “Thanks to the work of white-collar prosecutor Charles McLoughlin, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI, West is now a convicted felon.”

The agreement calls for West to make restitution totaling over $401,146 to Petco Petroleum. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

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