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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Joint Venture Victims Must Amend Fraud Suit

HOUSTON (CN) - A federal judge tossed what she called a "sparse and conclusory complaint" filed by 121 foreign investors who say they and others lost $25 million in a joint-venture scam.

The complaint accuses various individuals and companies, including Justin Solomon and Seisma Oil Research, of bilking investors in 32 countries with the promise that their investments in joint ventures would buy working interests in oil and gas wells in four Texas counties.

In December 2011, Seisma Oil Research, Seisma Energy Research and Permian Asset Management settled fraud claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission for nearly $8 million. Solomon agreed two months earlier to disgorge $275,000.

Calling the investors' civil allegations "unclear," U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon dismissed without prejudice Tuesday.

"Further, the complaint does not reveal whether the investors in this case were induced to purchase joint ventures shares on the basis of the defendants' websites, cable television advertizing, telephone marketers, or sales pamphlets," Harmon wrote. "Put simply, the sparse and conclusory complaint does not contain 'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"

Harmon granted five motions to dismiss filed by multiple defendants. She also denied to enter a default judgment against 4G New Global Energy, 4G Private Equity, 4G Global Alternatives, 4G Alternative Energy and Seisma Oil Research.

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