Attorney Kelly Gordon Rogers of Frisco has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing more than $1 million from investors in fraudulent oil and gas ventures.
Rogers, 55, stole money from investors who purchased royalty interests in oil and gas drilling projects that, in at least two cases, turned out not to exist.
The victims included an Oklahoma oil and gas investor, two partners in a separate Oklahoma investment company, a neighbor in Frisco and a longtime acquaintance.
Rogers used a significant portion of the money from investors to pay for his personal expenses and to try to acquire interests in unrelated projects, such as a coal mine in West Virginia.
He was convicted of first-degree felony theft for stealing $1.3 million from investors, was sentenced to 20 years in state prison on May 28 and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Rogers has faced other allegations of fraud over the past decade. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007 filed a civil injunction against a group of financial companies and promoters, Rogers among them, who were offering fraudulent high-yield securities offerings. Rogers consented to a final judgment and was ordered to pay disgorgement of $100,000 and a $50,000 civil penalty.
Indicted May 15, 2012, by a Collin County grand jury, the Texas State Securities Board says a long list of investors gave Rogers sums between $50,000 and even nearly $1 million for an oil and gas venture.
The investors were "induced by deception," their money "unlikely" to ever be recovered, the indictment stated.
Rogers was also accused of securities fraud for failing to disclose his legal troubles to his investors, including civil lawsuits for alleged misappropriation of investor funds; a suit for alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in an oil and gas scheme in Louisiana's Vinton Dome formation; a bankruptcy filing in which he declares debt of $2 million; and a 2007 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suit accusing Rogers of participating in a Ponzi scheme touting high-yield bank debentures with monthly 25-percent returns. Rogers channeled the money through Level Par Investments, where he was a managing member of the fund until he was forced to resign in July 2006, according to the complaint, for diverting cash to his personal bank account. The SEC says he and others, instead of investing their clients' money, mismanaged it through Ponzi payments, "exorbitant fees" and "personal expenses." Rogers settled the case for $153,000 and a promise not to violate federal securities laws.