Court upholds convictions in oil drilling scam

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of two brothers convicted of running a multistate oil drilling scam that bilked millions from unwitting investors.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday concluded that prosecutors presented enough evidence to back their contention that 53-year-old Christopher Cello Smith of Prestonsburg, Ky., and 58-year-old Michael D. Smith of Cookeville, Tenn., defrauded thousands of investors.

The Smiths ran a company called Target Oil and Gas. Prosecutors say the company asked investors to fund drilling projects in Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia and Tennessee but used fraudulent marketing materials and false geological surveys to persuade them.

Christopher Smith is serving a five-year sentence in federal prison. Michael Smith is serving a 10-year sentence.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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