One of two landmen accused of defrauding property owners in Washington County, PA, has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court.
According to documents from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, William J. Ray was charged with three counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. The minimum sentence is not more than three years of probation. Ray pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 and will be sentenced on Jan. 10.
In a separate case, Ray’s alleged accomplice, Derek A. Candelore, was indicted by a grand jury in August on five counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Candelore entered a not guilty plea on Sept. 12.
Both men were employed as landmen by Butler, PA-based Penn-Star Energy LLC to act on behalf of Range Resources Corp. Prosecutors allege the pair attempted to defraud several landowners in Washington County in a complex scheme from February 2011 until June 2012.
Candelore is accused of taking about $2.1 million in checks from Range and Houston-based Buffalo Royalties LLC. Range reportedly discovered the fraud and alerted authorities.
The cases are USA v. Ray (No. 2:13-CR-237) and USA v. Candelore (No. 2:13-CR-225).
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