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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Litigation Release No. 22092 / September 15, 2011

Securities and Exchange Commission v. James O’Reilly, James P. McAluney, and Martin Cutler, Case No. 4:11-cv-592 (E.D. Texas)


The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the filing of a complaint in federal district court against James O’Reilly (O’Reilly), James P. McAluney (McAluney), and Martin Cutler (Cutler) (collectively, “Defendants”). The complaint alleges that O’Reilly, McAluney, and Cutler were the managers and control persons involved in a series of fraudulent and unregistered offerings in Shale Synergy, LLC (Shale), Shale Synergy II, LLC (Shale II), and Ranch Rock Properties, LLC (Ranch Rock).

The Complaint alleges that from at least December 2007 until July 2009, Defendants solicited funds from investors through a series of Rule 506 Regulation D offerings of membership interests in Shale, Shale II and Ranch Rock. The Defendants raised approximately $16 million from about 130 investors. The companies were to generate returns of from 7.5% to 9% a quarter from investments in oil and gas interests purchased by Shale, Shale II and Ranch Rock. However, instead of purchasing oil & gas assets, approximately $13 million of the funds raised from investors were transferred to Joseph S. Blimline (Blimline) and various Blimline-controlled entities. Throughout Defendants’ solicitations, Blimline acted as a secret partner. Defendants never disclosed Blimline’s involvement and control, or his past securities disciplinary action to investors.

According to the Commission’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the Defendants falsely represented to investors that Shale would acquire the promissory notes issued by two Blimline entities and acquire substantially all of the entities’ underlying assets. The Complaint alleges that, the defendants failed to disclose that investor funds of Shale, Shale II, and Ranch Rock would be commingled to pay expenses, and that Blimline would be making all investment decision.

The Complaint further alleges that although Shale failed to make its December 2008 investor distributions, the Defendants continued to solicit investors for Shale II and Ranch Rock without disclosing the financial difficulties at Shale.

The Commission’s complaint seeks to enjoin the defendants from future violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and civil penalties.



Modified: 09/15/2011