FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 1, 2009
Contact: Robert Elder, Communications, Texas State Securities Board, at 512-305-8386
Oil and Gas Promoter Sentenced to 99 Years for Stealing More Than $400,000 of Investors' Money
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Collin County state district court Judge Curt B. Henderson today sentenced William L. Seelye to 99 years in prison for stealing about $417,000 from investors in oil and gas exploration projects.
The evidence in the five-day trial showed that Seelye raised money from dozens of investors who paid him as little as $1,000 and as much as $85,000 to gain a share of the oil and gas projects. The evidence showed that Mr. Seelye lived off investor funds for four years instead of putting the money in the projects, as he had promised. He also sold interests in oil and gas projects that he did not own.
Chris Milner of the Collin County District Attorney's office prosecuted the case with the assistance of Dale Barron, an enforcement attorney in the Dallas office of the Texas State Securities Board.
Seelye has also been indicted for securities fraud for failing to tell investors of legal problems he had at a previous company, Plano-based Seel-Mac Oil & Gas Co. LLC. Seelye is accused of intentionally failing to disclose, for instance, that he faces a lawsuit in Denton County state district court that alleges he used Seel-Mac Oil & Gas company funds to pay for personal expenses, including automobiles and credit card payments.
"Although energy prices are currently low, we are seeing fraud cases emerge from the period when prices spiked," said Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford. "High prices attracted fraudulent energy promoters, and the decline of the stock market helped make investors more susceptible to the types of fraud for which Mr. Seelye has been convicted."