SEC accuses Bedford man of investment fraud

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A Bedford man has been accused of fraudulently raising $17.3 milion from investors for energy partnerships, including the use of unregistered securities, according to a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bret L. Boteler through his Hurst company, EnerMax, raised the funds from about 260 investors in more than 40 states, the lawsuit alleges.

The civil suit, filed June 28, seeks to enjoin Boteler from further violations of federal securities law, disgorge money illegally obtained and pay any other penalties levied by a court.

Calls to phone numbers listed for Boteler and EnerMax on Tuesday failed to go through.

According to the lawsuit, Boteler told investors in 16 partnerships that EnerMax was an experienced energy producer, when “in reality neither Boteler nor the EnerMax staff were oil-and-gas professionals.” Rather, the agency says, “the only operation conducted by EnerMax was selling oil-and-gas securities.”

The suit alleges that between November 2007 and December 2011, EnerMax raised $17.26 million aimed at developing two West Texas prospects. While the offering circulars “purported to give investors a share of management responsibility, this assignment of responsibility was illusory,” the suit says, and “few if any of the 260 investors had any experience” in the energy business.

And while Boteler claimed the investments were exempt from SEC registration requirements, more than 40 investors lacked the financial resources to be considered “accredited investors,” and hence the offerings “did not qualify for an exemption from registration,” the SEC charged.

The agency says the projects were not profitable and Boteler used hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay himself a salary and other expenses, including $65,000 for his children’s private school tuition, and nearly $700,000 invested in two unrelated businesses.

The suit says Boteler shut down EnerMax in 2012.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay

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