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Midwest Oil Bonanza Oozes Into Court

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (CN) - A businessman claims his partners conspired to cheat him out of his share of one the biggest oil deposits in the Midwest, which has produced more than $100 million worth of crude oil since it was discovered in 2000.

In his federal RICO complaint, Duane Hassebrock claims he formed a joint venture with Ceja Corp. and Ben Webster, called the Omega Dome Prospect, to explore for oil in Western Illinois.

Hassebrock says that on Oct. 21, 2000, they found one of the largest oil deposits in the Midwest.

He claims but Ceja and Webster then conspired to form a new venture called the Stephen Forbes State Park Project. Hassebrock says Ceja and Webster attempted to make it look like Omega Dome had disbanded and that the Stephen Forbes project had found the reserve.

The field has produced more than $100 million worth of crude oil, according to the complaint.

Hassebrock seeks $24.4 million, his 37.5 percent share in the Omega Dome venture. He is represented by Daniel Goggin of Greenville.

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