Another Fraud in the Fracking Patch

by Duane Nichols on June 28, 2016

Chris Faulker is a fraud

US  ’frack master’ accused of $80m fraud to fund debauched lifestyle

From an Article by Emily Gosden, UK Telegraph News Service, June 27, 2016

A supposed fracking expert who toured the world’s media calling himself the ‘Frack Master’ and even gave evidence to MPs was actually a massive fraudster who duped investors out of millions of pounds to fund “a lifestyle of decadence and debauchery”, US investigators have alleged.

Chris Faulkner, chief executive of the Texas-based Breitling Energy Corporation, “orchestrated a massive, multi-pronged, and fraudulent scheme” that defrauded investors of $80m since 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged.

Faulkner “brazenly misappropriated at least $30m of investors’ funds for extravagant personal expenses, including lavish meals and entertainment, international travel, cars, jewelry, gentlemen’s clubs, and personal escorts”, it claimed.

Faulkner was touted as an expert pundit to the UK media between at least 2012 and 2015, via press releases referring to him as ”the US’s acknowledged expert” and calling Breitling “a leading US oil and gas business”.

He secured coverage in several newspapers, appeared on the BBC and Sky News, and was called to testify as a witness in a Parliamentary inquiry on shale gas where he gave evidence for more than half an hour in 2013.

He was also a “recurring guest” on North American TV stations including CNBC, CNN International and Fox Business News, the SEC noted in a release. 

But according to the SEC, in 2010 when Faulkner founded Breitling Oil and Gas Corporation, the initial company he used for the alleged fraud, he had no experience in the oil and gas industry.

The SEC alleges: ”Faulkner misrepresented his education, experience, and background. He claimed to have earned master’s and doctorate degrees from universities, which he had not. He represented that he had extensive and diverse experience ‘in all aspects of oil and gas operations,’ when he had no such experience.

“In fact, his only exposure to the oil-and-gas industry was through website data hosting work he and his prior company, C I Host, performed for oil-and-gas companies.

“Yet, he promoted himself as an expert in the oil-and-gas industry, even branding himself as the ‘Frack Master’. He also paid a public relations firm to promote him and to book appearances on television and radio shows.”

The heart of the alleged fraud, according to the SEC, involved “knowingly lying to investors about how much it would likely cost to drill and complete the wells and how much the investments would likely earn”.

It alleges Faulkner and others accused ”baselessly and grossly inflated” the actual costs of drilling, allowing them to “pocket millions of dollars in illicit profits”.

They allegedly used overestimates of the likely oil and gas production, which Faulkner then “indiscriminately increased” to entice investors with returns they had “virtually no chance of ever receiving”. 

“After duping investors to obtain their funds, Faulkner misappropriated a significant portion to live extravagantly and excessively,” it alleged.

Faulkner spent more than $1m on a credit card that he referred to as his “whore card”, paid for using investors’ cash, including “nearly $40,000 in charges at a Dallas gentlemen’s club over a four-day period in July 2014″, the SEC claims. 

Breitling Energy could not be reached for comment.

However, Faulkner’s lawyer told Reuters the allegations were “inaccurate and untrue” and that his companies raised money for legitimate purposes.

He also disputed the allegations around Faulkner’s personal expenditure, insisting: ”Nobody can spend $30m on steak and travel.”

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BoJo Waffles June 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Post-Brexit, U.K. favorite for prime minister is Trump-Lite on climate change

The British Bulldog. The Iron Lady. BoJo?

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson might not fit the grand tradition of British prime ministers. (He once compared his chances of becoming PM to being blinded by a champagne cork.) But Johnson is poised to lead the Conservative Party — and thus the country — in a post-Brexit world. Even sillier than his nickname is that this otherwise sharp politician is a climate waffler in the Donald Trump vein. His waffling just sounds a lot smarter.

The frontman of the successful Vote Leave campaign, Johnson is a favorite to take the nation’s helm in October when current Prime Minister David Cameron steps down in the wake of Thursday’s vote. And since the next U.K. general election isn’t until 2020, he’ll likely be sticking around for awhile.

Environmentalists had expressed deep concern at the thought of the U.K. leaving the EU, often citing the tendency of the “Leave” camp to deny climate science. BoJo himself has climate views that have been described as “an embarrassment to London’s scientists.” His closest climate consultant is Piers Corbyn, a fierce proponent of global cooling (apparently a thing that people still research). Johnson previously suggested Britain was witnessing the onset of a mini-ice age.

Yet the former mayor is also a previous deputy chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, and he recently declared that it is “vitally important that world cities unite and work together to mitigate climate change.” As the Brits would say, what in blazes is going on?

Just as Donald Trump signed a public letter urging climate action back in 2009, Johnson appears to adjust his language as a function of political convenience. It’s hard to know what he truly believes.

The real problem then is that, unlike Trump, Johnson is usually level-headed and articulate — which makes his equivocation on climate seem a bit more sinister. In a December column for the Telegraph, he wrote: “We ordinary human beings are not so rational; we are no different from all earlier cultures in that we have to put ourselves in the story, and to attribute this or that individual weather event to our own behaviour or moral failures. Think of Agamemnon at Aulis, unable to get the wind he needed to sail for Troy.”

This is an intelligent person saying intelligent-sounding things. But they’re intelligent-sounding things that imply it’s a mistake to assign humans responsibility for a changing climate. He’s singing the skeptic’s song to the tune of “God Save the Queen.”

Our advice with Johnson in charge (even temporarily): Watch out for flying corks.


S. Thomas Bond June 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Probably Chris Faulkner’s name does not exhaust the list of frauds in the fracking business!

Just an over-enthusiastic character at the point where business optimism shades off into dreams.


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