Crime

Fourth man is found guilty in Kentucky oil investment scheme

A federal jury on Friday found a fourth man guilty in a multi-million dollar oil investment scheme in Kentucky.

Henry Irving Ramer and his partners swindled more than $3 million from more than 200 investors nationwide, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. All the investors lost all, or nearly all, of their investments.

After six days of trial and five hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Ramer, of Encino, Calif., of 21 counts of mail fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to launder money, Harvey's office said. Ramer is the fourth person to be convicted in the case.

Ramer worked out of Los Angeles selling "investments" in oil wells in Monroe, Barren, and Cumberland counties, Harvey's office said.

Ramer and his partners used aliases when communicating with investors and maintained shifting addresses in Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington and Nashville.

The investigation began in August 2014 after investors submitted complaints to the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions.

Michael Hicks pleaded guilty to mail fraud in November 2014. The leader of the scheme and Hicks' half-brother, John Westine, was convicted of mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy in January. Mark Cornell, a Central Kentucky oil and gas operator, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in March.

Ramer's sentencing is set for Sept. 8.

The maximum sentence for Ramer is 20 years and a $5 million fine. Under federal law, Ramer must serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence.

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