Oil company owner sentenced to prison for fraud scheme
A former Oklahoma oil company owner was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for defrauding investors, including his own brother.
Kevin Wieck, 56, also was ordered to pay $358,256 in victims’ restitution. A jury took only two hours in September to convict him of 15 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
Wieck, of Cromwell, was charged with pocketing revenue from two oil wells instead of paying investors for their ownership interest. Some of his wire fraud counts involved selling interest in a horizontal well that he never owned.
Wieck gave a tearful statement to U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton on Monday, maintaining that he never intended to commit any crimes.
“I did not set out to harm anyone or bring harm to my family and friends,” he said. “This was not a get-rich-quick scheme for me.”
He claimed his failure to pay the investors was the result of negligence and substance abuse, not criminal intent. He said he was often intoxicated with alcohol and opioids, and he lacked experience in managing commercial oil wells.
“Judge, even without a court order for restitution, I would work to pay every victim back,” he said during the hearing. “I will do my best to make my victims whole again.”
Prosecutors argued Wieck was known as a savvy businessman and used his reputation to gain the trust of oil investors. He persuaded them to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars toward three oil wells, two of which produced yields. Wieck’s brother, Robert, also contributed about $80,000 for a stake in the wells.
Wieck fled to Mexico in 2014 and kept most of the oil revenue for himself, according to a federal indictment. Prosecutors said he used most of the earnings for lifestyle expenditures.
“He squandered all of that money on alcohol, on drugs, on first-class plane tickets and on vacations,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Barry said during the hearing. “He is a man motivated by greed and self-interest and has no remorse for his actions.”
Barry requested to significantly raise Wieck’s restitution total to cover costs Landmark Energy incurred. The company purchased operatorship of Wieck’s wells and discovered more than $301,000 in unpaid bills, she said.
Heaton declined to rule on the extra restitution amount at Monday’s hearing, citing a lack of information. He agreed to review the request at a later hearing to give all parties in the case time to agree on an amount.
The judge mandated that Wieck participate in a financial responsibility course and substance abuse program in prison.
“It’s clear he committed several serious offenses,” Heaton said. “I think there needs to be a substantial sentence to reflect that.”