FORT WORTH (CN) – Samuel LeMaire “presented himself as minister and a ‘man of God'” who helped needy children in Nigeria, but actually bilked investors of $3 million through his bogus company, Petrogas Overseas Trading, the SEC claims in Federal Court.
The SEC claims that LeMaire raised at least $2.3 million and possible at much as $3.6 million since 2007, “using religion and his purported foundation as a hook”. LeMaire has been “lulling” his victims with one excuse or another for 2 years, the SEC says, without paying any of them any profits “or even a return of principal”.
But bank records “indicate that LeMaire has used a large portion of the money for personal purposes, including purchasing clothing, jewelry, meals at high-end restaurants, travel and entertainment,” according to the complaint. “In fact, it does not appear that any investor funds were used to engage in any oil-related investment or transaction.”
LeMaire, of Corinth, Texas, is not a U.S. citizen, but he married a U.S. citizen in August 2009 and is seeking U.S. citizenship, the SEC says. He refused to testify about his Petrogas company after being subpoenaed, the agency says.