The self-proclaimed “Frack Master” Chris Faulkner of Dallas-based Breitling Energy agreed to a plea deal with a 12-year prison sentence for securities fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Faulkner in 2016 with leading a wide-ranging securities-fraud scheme that raised over $80 million from hundreds of investors nationwide to help fund a lifestyle of “decadence and debauchery,” including luxury vehicles, private jets, exotic dancers and sex workers.
The SEC announced the settlement agreement and prison sentence on Tuesday. Faulkner was accused of systemically deceiving investors with false information while misappropriating millions of dollars of investor funds and manipulating the stock of Breitling Energy.
Faulkner was an outspoken advocate of the energy sector, especially shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing, called “fracking.” He frequently made television appearances promoting the industry.
The settlement requires that Faulkner repay $23.8 million he illegally misused, the SEC said.
Prior to the 2016 charges, Faulkner also had embarked on an illegal real estate scheme in California, according to the SEC.
“Faulkner first proclaimed himself the ‘Frack Master’ in order to deceive investors about his expertise and steal millions of dollars to fund his lifestyle, and the SEC put an early end to his second effort to defraud investors in a real estate scheme,” said Shamoil Shipchandler, director of the SEC’s Fort Worth regional office. “Today’s serious civil and criminal sanctions serve as a warning to anyone who intends to target retail investors.”
Faulkner is currently in federal prison in Seagoville outside of Dallas.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.