Feds Freeze $485 Million in Suspected Ponzi Scheme

Dallas company allegedly offered fraudulent oil and gas securities

Federal regulators have frozen the assets of a Dallas company accused of running a $485 million Ponzi scheme centered on the oil and gas industry.

The scheme was orchestrated by three Dallas businessmen through a company called Provident Royalties LLC, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The Delaware company, which had its primary office in Dallas, didn't immediately respond to a phone message Tuesday.

The SEC alleges that from at least June 2006 through January 2009, Provident made fraudulent securities offerings involving oil and gas assets to more than 7,700 investors. According to the SEC's complaint filed in a federal district court in Texas, Provident falsely promised yearly returns of up to 18 percent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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