Louisiana AG warns of mineral rights scam

By Chris Rizo | Aug 20, 2008

James "Buddy" Caldwell

BATON ROUGE, La. (Legal Newsline)-Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell is warning landowners of a scheme aimed at stealing their mineral rights.

The scam emerged amid increasing demand for drilling leases in the Haynesville Shale, a massive natural gas find made recently in northwest Louisiana and eastern Texas.

The attorney general's office said landowners should be cautious of letters in the mail that contain a check and ask them to sign documents and return them.

"If you are a mineral owner and receive a letter in the mail, with a check included, requesting that you sign a document that appears to be a mineral lease, you should be extremely cautious because you may be permanently signing away valuable mineral rights without realizing it," Caldwell said in a consumer alert.

The attorney general said the contract might contain general power of attorney provisos that would allow the holder to amend the contract even after it's signed to reflect that all mineral assets, even those already in production.

"The attorney general encourages all property owners in Louisiana to seek legal advice before signing any documents relating to the sale or lease of mineral rights," the alert said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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