Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lawsuit filed to Disbar Attorney Kelly G Rogers

Convicted Oil, Gas Investment Fraudster Faces Disbarment by Kelly Knaub @ Law360

Law360, New York (September 04, 2014, 7:27 PM ET) -- The Texas Bar has filed suit to disbar an attorney serving a 20-year prison sentence for stealing $1.3 million from investors in fraudulent oil and gas schemes and hiding his track record of violating securities laws.

According to the Aug. 29 suit, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline says that Kelly Gordon Rogers should have his law license revoked pursuant to Rule 8.05 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. A Collin County jury sentenced him to the prison term and a $10,000 fine in May, days after it found him guilty of a single count of theft for selling to investors royalty interests in bogus oil and gas drilling projects.

Collin County prosecutors began their pursuit of Rogers in 2009, after he was indicted on a felony charge of misappropriation of fiduciary property, court records indicate. As that case developed, Rogers was hit with six more felony charges in mid-2012 including theft, money laundering and securities fraud in connection with the investment scam. Prosecutors estimated at the time that Rogers had stolen in excess of $2.8 million from his victims.

Prosecutors say that rather than investing his clients’ money, Rogers used the funds, including $950,000 belonging to Oklahoma City-based oil land leasing company Basin Management Group Inc., for personal expenses and to acquire interests in unrelated projects, such as a coal mine in West Virginia.

To keep investors in the dark, Rogers ran a Ponzi-like scheme, using new investor funds to pay off older investors who wanted to cash out, prosecutors claim.

Rogers never told his investors that he had been sued in February 2007 for alleged violations of federal and Texas state securities laws, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with his sales of investments in a Louisiana oil and gas venture, according to prosecutors.

He also failed to disclose that he was one of the defendants named in a July 2007 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suit against Global Finance & Investments Inc. over a $9.9 million Ponzi scheme that preyed upon over 100 investors nationwide, authorities say.

Rogers was one of the alleged facilitators of Global Finance company head Charles Davis, according to the SEC. The suit said he created similar investment offerings and passed funds on to Davis.

Shortly after the suit was filed, Rogers settled with the SEC by agreeing to disgorgement of $100,000 and a civil penalty of $50,000. He was also enjoined from future violations of federal securities law.

Mitchell R. Nolte, who represented Gordon in the Collin County case, told Law360 this week that he is not representing Rogers in this case.

Nolte said a plea bargain was struck about three weeks after the trial, with the state agreeing to drop the other six pending charges, five of which were first-degree felonies, in exchange for Rogers' dropping the appeal of the trial conviction.

Nolte said that it wasn’t easy to waive appeal because they felt they had some very valid points of error but that it was too good of a deal to pass up.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Bar declined to comment.

The State Bar of Texas is represented by Chief Disciplinary Counsel Linda A. Acevedo and Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Rebecca B. Stevens.

Counsel information for Rogers was not immediately available.

The case is In the Matter of Kelly G. Rogers, case number 54882, before the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas.

--Additional reporting by Jeremy Heallen. Editing by Patricia K. Cole.