Kevin Cassidy, former CEO of Valhalla, NY-based brokerage firm Optionable Inc., has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a 2003-2007 commodities trading scandal at Bank of Montreal (BMO). Cassidy was among the Optionable and BMO employees who were charged by federal and state authorities in 2008 for deceiving and defrauding the bank about the true value of its natural gas options book (see NGI, Nov. 24, 2008). A multi-count indictment charged Cassidy with criminal counts of wire fraud, making false statements to a bank, making false and misleading statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission and securities fraud. Under terms of the plea agreement, Cassidy would serve 30-37 months in prison. Cassidy also agreed to forfeit illegally obtained profit from the deal and could be fined. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

A federal judge has ordered that a 40-year-old Oklahoma man accused of planting a homemade explosive device under a natural gas pipeline be given a mental health competency exam to determine if he is fit to stand trial. Daniel Herriman of Konawa has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempting to damage or destroy property by means of an explosive. Two Enerfin Resources employees discovered the device under a gathering system pipeline near Okemah, OK, on Aug. 10. The device was safely disarmed by federal and state law enforcement personnel (see NGI, Aug. 15). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said the incident remains under investigation but did not anticipate making any more arrests.

A West Virginia man suing two energy companies in the Marcellus Shale wants his case returned to circuit court. Richard Cain filed the lawsuit against XTO Energy, an ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary, and Waco Oil & Gas Inc. in Marion County Circuit Court in June, saying the companies don’t have the right to use his property to drill horizontal wells to access natural gas from his neighbors’ reserves. XTO filed a notice of removal on July 22, which moved the case to a district court. A judge is to hear Cain’s motion to remand the case back to Marion County on Sept. 30. Cain owns about 105 surface acres, but Waco purchased the mineral rights to an underlying 138-acre oil and gas reservation at a tax sale in 1999.

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