Litigation Release No. 23720 / January 13, 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robin G. Charlet, Steven W. Sparks, Gregory J. Tuthill and Kirk D. Porter, No. 3:17-cv-00139-D (N.D. Tex. filed Jan. 13, 2017)

SEC Charges Four Unregistered Sales Reps Who Sold Unregistered Oil-and-Gas Offerings

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges today against four unregistered brokers who raised approximately $9.8 million from more than 200 investors in two unregistered oil-and-gas offerings.

The SEC's complaint, filed in Dallas federal court, alleges that Robin Charlet, Steven Sparks, Gregory Tuthill and Kirk Porter sold securities on behalf of Texas-based Charles O. Couch and Couch Oil & Gas, Inc. The SEC alleges that Couch hired Charlet, Sparks, Tuthill and Porter to market the unregistered securities offerings, and to locate and solicit investors, many of whom were not accredited. The defendants received commissions based upon their total sales. The SEC alleges that this conduct violated Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The SEC encourages investors to check the backgrounds of people selling them investments. A quick search on the SEC's investor.gov website would have shown that Charlet, Sparks, Tuthill and Porter are not registered to sell investments.

Porter has agreed to settle the SEC's charges. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Porter has consented to permanent injunctions and to pay $323,508.91 in disgorgement with prejudgment interest and a $25,000 civil penalty. The settlement is subject to court approval. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Charlet, Sparks and Tuthill.

The SEC previously charged Couch and Couch Oil with fraud and other violations arising from the same securities offerings. On May 9, 2016, the court entered final judgments against Couch and Couch Oil that included permanent injunctions and ordered them to pay more than $7.3 million in monetary relief.

This matter was investigated by Tamara F. McCreary, Ty Martinez, Joseph Dugan and Douglas Gordimer, under the supervision of Jonathan P. Scott and David L. Peavler of the Fort Worth office. Janie L. Frank and Jessica B. Magee will lead the litigation.

SEC Complaint