Landman stole mineral rights, prosecutor says
A Hempfield man allegedly made nearly $1.2 million in a scheme that fraudulently acquired mineral rights for multiple Washington County parcels, according to a federal grand jury indictment filed Tuesday.
Derek A. Candelore, 33, was working as a landman for Penn-Star Energy of Butler County, which acquires mineral rights for oil and gas production on behalf of Range Resources, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
“The mineral rights ... were stolen by Candelore using forged signatures, fake companies and forged notary signatures and stamps,” the news release states. “Candelore's companies thereafter leased and/or sold the mineral rights to others.”
Candelore is facing mail and wire fraud charges. He could not be reached Tuesday.
Investigators said Candelore is also a resident of White Oak.
According to the indictment, Candelore allegedly:
•Established McComb Hines & Beggs Trust and used the name Kevin Kelly to open a bank account and post office box for fraudulent company Marcellus Land Services in February 2011.
Candelore filed several documents with the Washington County Recorder of Deeds office for a 96-acre parcel there, forging signatures to sell mineral rights to his company, later leasing them to Range Resources and reselling them.
Investigators said Candelore allegedly made about $330,000 in the deals. Checks were first deposited into the created accounts and later transferred into his personal account.
•Received about $251,000 from Range Resources for the lease of mineral rights of a 114-acre property in Hanover Township. Candelore allegedly forged signatures on documents filed in the recorder of deeds office that sold the mineral rights to Davis Minerals.
He allegedly set up a post office box for the fictitious company in Bethel Park in May 2011. The money received was deposited into the Marcellus Land Services account and later transferred into Candelore's personal account.
•Received about $680,000 for the fraudulent sale of two properties in Hanover, one 24 acres and the other 125 acres.
Candelore allegedly created Clark Lumber Co. in November 2011 and opened a post office box and bank account. The rights were sold to his fictitious company then to five Texas financial investment firms doing work in the oil and gas industry, according to the indictment.
The funds were later transferred into Candelore's personal account.
•Received $452,000 from Range Resources for the fraudulent lease of mineral rights to 129 acres in Hanover Township. Blue Bell Minerals was created by another Penn-Star landman referred to as WJR in the indictment.
Six financial investment firms — four in Colorado and two in Texas — sent Candelore $381,000 for the sale of the mineral rights from Blue Bell to them.
In addition to Range Resources, victims in the purported scheme include several mineral rights owners, Pecos Bend Royalties of Texas and Buffalo Royalties business entities, also in Texas.
Candelore is facing a maximum sentence of 120 years in prison, according to the news release. The Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fracking foes pack zoning discussion in Ligonier Township
- Lineup released for Greensburg concert series
- Ligonier Valley YMCA marks start of 32,000-square-foot expansion
- Westmoreland officials fear loss of impact fees
- Budget work ahead for Southmoreland School District
- Dog found shot dead in cardboard box in Derry Township
- Technology, teaching style set district apart, Mt. Pleasant Area administrators say
- Women to stand trial in theft of drugs from Norwin Pharmacy
- Hempfield to give $13K to Greensburg Hempfield Area Library
- Latrobe weighs hike in roll-off container rates
- Ex-Hempfield vet clinic worker charged in theft of $269K