State News

Jul 24, 2014 8:21 AM

Texan Pleads Guilty in Oil, Gas Investment Scam

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A North Texas man faces up to 20 years in prison in an oil and gas Ponzi scheme that attracted nearly $6 million in investments before he fled to Oregon.

Jeffrey Watts of Fort Worth pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud.

The 41-year-old Watts was charged in March and arrested in May in Eugene, Oregon. He faces sentencing later this year in Fort Worth.

Investigators say Watts since 2011 ran a scheme to defraud oil and gas investors. He presented himself as founder of a company named Blue Alpha Energy and claimed making investments with another legitimate firm, but instead funneled the money to sham accounts and businesses.

Prosecutors say Watts received nearly $5.8 million from about 45 investors before several learned that no legitimate energy deals existed.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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