New Castle News

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August 27, 2013

Energy firm employee charged

NEW CASTLE — A Jeannette man has been indicted on charges related to the illegal acquisition of oil and gas leases.

U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton in Pittsburgh announced the six-count indictment of Derek A. Candelore, aka Dan Kun, aka Kevin Kelly, 33, of 125 Woodhaven Drive on charges of mail and wire fraud.

According to the indictment, Candelore was employed by Penn-Star Energy of Butler County as a landman. A landman contacts mineral rights owners on behalf of natural gas production companies to arrange for leases of mineral interests for oil and gas production.

Penn-Star acquired oil and gas rights on behalf of Range Resources Corp. The rights for four blocks of land in Washington County, consisting of 100 or more acres, were allegedly stolen by Candelore using forged signatures, fake companies and forged notary signatures and stamps.

The indictment said Candelore filed deeds and other documents at the Washington County recorder of deeds offices to make it appear that the true owners had transferred their rights to Candelore’s fake companies. These deeds had forged signatures of several true owners and forged notary signatures and stamps, according to the indictment.

Candelore’s companies thereafter leased and/or sold the mineral rights to others, authorities charge. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $1,177,735.27 of proceeds from the scheme.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 120 years in prison, a fine of $1.5 million or both.

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