US oil executive gets 18 years in prison for defrauding investors

A Houston oil executive was sentenced to state prison for defrauding investors who thought they were paying for the drilling and testing of wells — but instead paid the executive’s mortgage.

Daniel Walsh, the CEO of Houston-based Western Capital Inc., was sentenced to 18 years in state prison on Friday, the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office said.

Walsh, a Galveston oilman, plead guilty to money laundering Wednesday after raising money for the drilling and testing of oil wells in Galveston between 2007 and 2009, but spent the money on his personal expenses instead.

He was indicted on first-degree felony charges of theft, money laundering and securing execution of a document by deception. Authorities said he stole nearly $500,000 from 12 investors.

The investors, which included a retired real estate broker in Houston, believed that the money would be used to drill oil wells in the High Island section of eastern Galveston County, authorities said.

Walsh used investors’ money to pay his personal expenses, including a $6,000 per month mortgage, and other costs unrelated to the wells, according to the Texas State Securities Board.

It’s not the first time Walsh has been accused of fraudulent business practices: In 2005, the Pennsylvania Securities Commission issued a cease and desist action against his company for selling unregistered investments in two oil wells in DeWitt County in Texas, authorities said.

The full version of this article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.

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