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15 convicted in securities fraud scheme in New Albany

FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. -- The Indiana Secretary of State announced Tuesday a multi-year investigation and criminal prosecution led to the conviction of 15 people in a securities fraud scheme that was run out of New Albany, Indiana.

According to investigators, the oil and gas related scheme spanned nine states and victimized 10 investors for $3 million.

The state says in 2007 David Rose founded Earth Energy Exploration, Inc. which offered investments in oil exploration and production companies.

His employees made cold calls to potential victims and if a person showed interest, a closer got the victim to agree to send money.

Instead of being invested, the money was used for employees and for related businesses.

“It took my team years to uncover the true nature of the scheme,” said Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “This was homegrown organized crime that spread through 9 states with a base in New Albany, Indiana. The convoluted scheme used Wyoming as a mail drop and Indiana as a base for calls, with investors stretching from Pennsylvania to Texas. With so many intricate details, this was not an easy case to prosecute. I appreciate Prosecutor Henderson’s leadership and dedication to pursuing justice for victims.”

Investigators said Rose and his partners tried to increase their income through an adult film organization.They also sent employees to Las Vegas to try to recoup losses through gambling, but the state says that backfired.

The names and sentences of those prosecuted in this case in alphabetical order.

  • Thomas Berry provided assistance to Brian Rose and pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence.Berry was sentenced to 4 years, 1.5 to be served in prison and 2.5 on probation.
  • David Brown was a sales closer and pleaded guilty to aiding the sale of unregistered securities.Brown was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
  • Richard Collins was a sales closer and pleaded guilty to aiding the sale of unregistered securities. Collins was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Bruce Fox was a president of Earth Energy Exploration, Inc. and pleaded guilty to securities fraud and the sale of an unregistered security.  Fox was sentenced to 6 years in prison and returned $5000 to victims.
  • Brent Loveall acted as a sales closer and pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered broker-dealer. Loveall was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
  • Robert McGregor was a sales closer and pled guilty to the sale of unregistered securities.  McGregor was sentenced to 4 years with 18 months of probation.
  • Keith Mohney was a CPA and the Earth Energy Exploration, Inc. tax preparer. He pleaded guilty to aiding the sale of unregistered securities. Mohney was sentenced to 4 years with 4 years of probation.
  • Colin Purcell pleaded guilty to aiding securities fraud.  Purcell was sentenced to 3 years with 3 years of probation and returned $5000 to victims.
  • Brian Rose, an owner of Earth Energy Exploration, Inc, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and corrupt business influence.  Brian Rose was sentenced to 8 years in prison with 2 years’ probation and returned $25,000 to victims.
  • David Rose, who was a leader of the scheme, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to 8 years, 4 of which will be executed in prison.
  • Hugh Sackett was a sales consultant and pleaded guilty to aiding the sale of unregistered securities. Sackett was sentenced to 4 years in prison with 2 years of probation and returned $6000 to victims.
  • Jeffery Smith laundered money for Brian Rose and pleaded guilty to conversion. He was sentenced to 1 year and returned $1000 to victims.
  • Jason Towe was a sales closer and a president of Earth Energy Exploration, Inc, he pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence. Towe was sentenced to 4 years with 4 years of probation and returned $15,000 to victims.
  • Mandy Ward-Rose ran a small pornography company and wrote investment paperwork for Earth Energy Exploration, Inc.  She pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 3 years, while returning $22,000 to victims.
  • Michael Wood was a president of an Earth Energy Exploration, Inc affiliate company and pleaded guilty to aiding the sale of unregistered securities. Wood was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
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