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Penn Hills, Verona men in U.S. District court on weapon, fraud charges

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Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, 11:03 a.m.

Men from Verona and Penn Hills were the subject of two U.S. District Court cases last week:

• Curtis D. Brown, 42, of Frankstown Road in Penn Hills was found guilty on Jan. 30 of violating federal firearms laws.

Brown, a convicted felon, was found guilty of illegally possessing a Taurus Model 85 Ultra Lite .38-caliber revolver on July 7, 2012. He was scheduled for sentencing on May 6.

Brown is potentially facing 15 years to life in prison.

• William D. Ray, 30, of Verona, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years of supervised release and will be required to help repay restitution in the amount of $2.4 million after being convicted of mail fraud.

Ray, along with Derek A. Candelore, 34, of Jeannette were employed by Penn-Star Energy LLC in Butler County as landmen, contacting mineral-rights owners on behalf of natural gas companies to arrange for leases. Penn-Star acquired rights on behalf of Range Resources.

According to information presented in court, rights for four separate blocks of Washington County land were stolen by Ray and Candelore using forged signatures, fake companies and forged notary signatures and stamps.

The fraud is alleged to have taken place from February 2011 to June 2012.

Ray participated in two of the four fraud schemes, according to the U.S. District Attorney's office, who said he profited more than $540,000 from the fraud.

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