A federal judge sentenced on Tuesday Tim DeChristopher, the 29-year-old environmental activist who disrupted a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in Utah in December 2008, to two years in prison.
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A federal judge has sentenced Tim DeChristopher, 29, to two years in prison for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management lease auction in Utah in December 2008. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson also fined DeChristopher $10,000 and gave him three years of probation. In March a jury found the Universithy of Utah economics student guilty of one count of violating the federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act and two counts of providing false statements. DeChristopher falsely bid on 13 lease parcels covering 22,000 acres near Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands national parks on Dec. 19, 2008 (see NGI, Jan. 5, 2009). He reportedly disrupted the auction over climate change concerns.
Former Houston gas trader Stephanie Roqumore was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Houston to six years in federal prison without parole for defrauding numerous natural gas trading companies of nearly $8 million. In February Roqumore, 48, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, admitting that from March 2002 through April 2010 she used fraudulent financial statements to defraud 12 companies (see NGI, Feb. 14). She was ordered to pay $7.8 million in restitution to the victim companies.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal of his May 2006 convictions. Skilling in 2006 was sentenced in Houston by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 24 years in federal prison following his convictions on 19 criminal charges related to Enron’s bankruptcy in 2001: one count of conspiracy, 12 counts of securities fraud, five counts of making false representations to auditors and one count of insider trading (United States v. Jeffrey K. Skilling, No. 06-20885).The defense appealed, arguing, among other things, that the 19 counts were tainted by the use of the “honest services” fraud theory, which was one of the objects of the conspiracy charge. The Fifth Circuit denied a defense motion to overturn the convictions, but it said Skilling’s sentence needed to be recalculated and ordered he be resentenced. On appeal the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed Skilling’s conviction for honest services fraud (see NGI, June 28, 2010). The justices, however, did not reverse any of Skilling’s convictions, but they remanded the case back to the Fifth Circuit to determine whether the honest services instruction to the district court jury amounted to “harmless error.” The district court’s instruction to the Houston jury was indeed a harmless error, the Fifth Circuit judges said in their ruling. As it had ruled in 2009, the Fifth Circuit also stated that Skilling’s sentence had been miscalculated. According to the opinion, the circuit court now will take up resentencing.
A California-based oil and natural gas company was fined $450,000 and sentenced to a five-year probationary period after pleading guilty to one felony count of operating a pipeline offshore Southern California that the Interior Department previously determined was unfit for service, federal authorities said last Monday.
A California-based oil and natural gas company was fined $450,000 and sentenced to a five-year probationary period after pleading guilty to one felony count of operating a pipe offshore Southern California that the Interior Department earlier had determined to be unsuitable for service, federal authorities said Monday.
Legendary Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt, 83, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison after pleading guilty in October to paying illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s energy regime in exchange for oil contracts in 2001 (see NGI, Oct. 8). Wyatt had faced up to 24 months in prison. Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the sentence. Wyatt had earlier agreed to forfeit $11 million as part of his plea agreement. Wyatt pleaded guilty in October four weeks into a criminal trial and shortly before prosecutors were to complete their case. Wyatt, who founded Coastal Corp., which later merged with El Paso Corp. (see NGI, May 8, 2000),was indicted in late 2005 with five other individuals. He had faced up to 70 years in prison if he had been convicted on all five counts of his indictment. Wyatt had also been charged with conducting financial transactions with Iraq, which was an enemy nation in 2001, and for violating a U.S. embargo with Iraq.
Legendary Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt, 83, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty in October to paying illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s energy regime in exchange for oil contracts in 2001 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 2). Wyatt had faced up to 24 months in prison.