Plano Man Ordered to Repay $24.6 Million From Failed Oil and Gas Projects

Armed with "false promises and half-truths," firms owned by a Plano man earned $10.7 million in fees from customers investing in risky oil and gas projects, according to financial regulators.Meanwhile, those investors - including a bus driver who raided his retirement account and borrowed from his daughter - lost an "astounding" $24.6 million of the $25 million they sank into Texas wells. The firms' owner had earlier described one of those wells as a "10,000-foot-deep wildcat in the middle of nowhere."Documents presented to investors projected returns on investment of as much as 72 percent, according to a Washington state securities cease-and-desist order from 2015.A ruling last week from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found that Red River Securities and owner Brian Keith Hardwick violated FINRA rules and federal securities laws. The hearing officers decided that he and his company must stop selling securities and repay those millions."They preyed on customers who hoped to get into the oil and gas business by touting prior successes that in reality were marginal, buried negative facts, and presented an overall picture of each venture that was far from accurate," according to the hearing panel's decision.The 49-page ruling said Hardwick hid important information, glossed over conflicts of interest, downplayed risk, used heavy-handed sales tactics and generally misled investors. The panel concluded that Hardwick intended to "deceive, manipulate or defraud."A message was left at one of Hardwick's offices in Plano. He was not immediately available for comment.  Continue reading...

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