WEST PALM BEACH - Petroleum Unlimited and its operators bilked investors of $2.9 million for "purported" oil and gas drilling in Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC says. The defendants skimmed "49 percent to 74 percent" of the money as "commissions," and never found any oil, the SEC says.
The SEC sued Petroleum Unlimited, Petroleum UnlimitedII, Roger A. Kimmel Jr., Harry Nyce, Michel-Jean Geraud, Robert Rossi, Joseph Valko, and Morgan Kimmel, in Federal Court. Morgan Kimmel participated by typing the private placement memoranda; the other men drafted, reviewed and/or distributed them, the SEC says.
The offering documents claimed "without any reasonable basis that investors could earn annual returns ranging from 14 percent to 141 percent," the complaint states.
The companies spent only $534,000 of the $2.9 million they raised for oil drilling.
"Geraud, Rossi and Valko conducted the private placement offerings through sales offices in Florida and New Jersey of a related company, GPS Management, Inc.," the complaint states. "Geraud also conducted private placement offerings through sales offices overseas. Geraud, Rossi and Valko managed and operated the sales offices and knew sales agents and the offering materials were not advising investors about the sales commissions of 49 percent to 74 percent."
The SEC seeks disgorgement, penalties and an injunction.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.