HOUSTON (AP) – The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has determined that a Houston oil and gas company misled investors by making fraudulent claims about its oil reserves.
The SEC announced Monday that Houston American Energy Corp. and its CEO, John F. Terwilliger, had claimed that a Colombian exploration venture had yielded between 1 billion and 4 billion barrels of oil reserves. But the SEC says the estimates “lacked any reasonable basis.”
SEC officials say false claims made by the company in 2009 and 2010 allowed it to raise about $13 million in a public offering and saw its stock price increase from $5 per share to $20. Houston American now trades for about 40 cents per share.
A phone message left for an attorney representing Houston American was not immediately return.