DALLAS (TIP): An Indian-American businessman has been sued by US federal regulators for offering fraudulent oil and gas investments in a petroleum joint venture he owned, raising about$4 million through the scheme.
Sameer Praveen Sethi and his firm Sethi Petroleum face an emergency civil action filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. At the Commission’s request, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has entered a temporary restraining order halting the offering, as well as orders to freeze his assets.
The complaint alleges that, since January 2014, Sethi and his firm, raised approximately $4 million via the fraudulent offer and sale of securities in the Sethi-North Dakota Drilling Fund-LVIII Joint Venture.
The offering materials represented that 70 per cent of investor funds would be used to acquire working interests in and drill and complete 20 oil and gas wells in the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota.
But the Commission alleges that Sethi and his firm spent less than 25 per cent for these purposes. Instead, he spent a majority of the investor funds on undisclosed and unapproved expenditures such as diverting$1.6 million to himself and his family, and Sethi Petroleum’s parent company and over a million dollars to sales employees.