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Friday, March 1, 2024 | Back issues
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Five Years for Ripping off ExxonMobil

FORT WORTH (CN) - A former Texas landman for an ExxonMobil subsidiary will spend five five years in federal prison for stealing $1 million from the oil and gas company.

Steven E. Fisackerly, 33, of Spring, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution Thursday after pleading guilty in May to mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Terry Means ordered Fisackerly to report to prison on Jan. 4, 2016.

Fisackerly worked at the Fort Worth headquarters of XTO Energy as a landman assigned to the company's wells in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia. As a landman, he was responsible for drafting, negotiating and administering oil and gas leases and other oil and gas exploration contracts. He had access to XTO computer systems that map leases and track costs of oil and gas bonus payments.

"Fisackerly admits that beginning in January 2009 and ending in approximately January 2011, he devised and ran a scheme to defraud XTO," prosecutors said Thursday. "He used his knowledge of XTO's oil and gas lease process, his access to previously approved oil and gas leases and reports, XTO computer systems, Harrison County, West Virginia's online document inquiry public records data base, and his knowledge of XTO's oil and gas interests in West Virginia to generate bogus oil and gas leases. He also altered/falsified existing information to generate bogus documents."

In one case in January 2009, Fisackerly altered lease documents from a legitimate landowner and changed it to show another person, E.C., was the landowner and submitted it to management for approval.

"Once approved, XTO issued bonus check for $180,402.50 to E.C. that Fisackerly obtained," prosecutors said in a statement. "That check was deposited into a bank account controlled by E.C., and E.C. wrote two personal checks, totaling $130,000, to Fisackerly from that account. Fisackerly also created a sham company, Parallel Interests, LLC, using LegalZoom. He listed himself as the 100 percent member, stating in the formation questionnaire that the reason for creating the company was for mineral interests. Fisackerly also opened a bank account at Bank of America in December 2010 that listed Parallel Interests, LLC on the signature card and named Fisackerly as the only signer on the account."

Prosecutors say Fisackerly pulled off nine such phony transactions, in which XTO issued him more than $1 million in checks. In another transaction, he used the name of Paul Hinkle as president of Parallel Interests, LLC, on documents with a forged notary stamp.

"He created fraudulent deeds and Harrison County Clerk reference numbers for supporting documentation and provided a nonexistent post office box as the mailing address for the bonus checks," prosecutors said. "He organized the fraudulent documentation and approved the order of payments. He then obtained additional management approvals and routed the lease packets to XTO's Land Department, where bonus checks for Parallel Interests, LLC were issued. From there, the bonus checks were routed back to Fisackerly, who then deposited them into the Parallel Interests, LLC Bank of America account he controlled."

XTO spokeswoman Suann Guthrie said the company "cooperated fully" in the investigation.

"XTO does not tolerate fraud or any other criminal behavior," Guthrie said Friday. "As soon as we became aware of this activity, we referred all relevant information to the appropriate authorities. ... XTO's employees are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards of business integrity, and are subject to disciplinary action, including termination, if they violate XTO policies."

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