Criminal Justice News

Monday, September 03, 2012

Monroe County Man Indicted for Fraud Related to False Claims of Owning Billions of Dollars Worth of Oil and Negotiable Bank Instruments

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Richard J. Harley, of Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania, was indicted today by a federal grand jury in a 23-count indictment charging 15 counts of wire fraud, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, five counts of making false statements on bankruptcy schedules, and one count of bank fraud.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the indictment alleges that Harley defrauded various investors and attempted to defraud various financial institutions by soliciting money based on false claims of ownership of 10 million barrels of oil in Texas worth in excess of $700 billion, as well as claiming authority over Federal Reserve instruments worth more than $1 billion.

The investigation commenced after one of Harley’s victims sued Harley in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County and obtained a judgment against Harley and Harley’s company, RJH, for over $1 million. Further investigation by the FBI revealed that several other individuals were defrauded by Harley and that Harley had attempted to deposit two fraudulent $500 million checks into various financial institutions in an effort to secure loans.

The indictment also alleges that Harley filed three petitions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2010, 2011, and 2012, making various false statements relating to his assets and liabilities, as well as RJH’s assets and liabilities, in an attempt to cover-up his schemes.

Harley faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each wire fraud charge, up to five years’ imprisonment on the bankruptcy fraud and false statements charges, and up to 30 years’ imprisonment on the bank fraud charge. Arraignment on the charges will occur at a later date to be set by the court.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is assigned to Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Brandler.

An indictment or information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the grand jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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