The Petrified Forest Prospect “is” a helium well project in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park.
Listeners to KRLD New Radio 1080 AM in Dallas may have heard the Helium Hunters discuss these rich deposits of helium that are simply waiting to be claimed. For $55,000 a unit, listeners could “invest.”
Unfortunately, it was all a scam, according to the Texas State Securities Board.
Bradley Sherman Haycraft, 48, of Garland, was indicted by a grand jury in Collin County earlier this year, charged with illegally selling investments in the Petrified Forest Prospect.
The Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles previously filed administrative actions to stop Haycraft from perpetrating illegal investment schemes. Iles filed the most recent administrative case against Haycraft in November 2019.
It accused Haycraft of soliciting units in the Petrified Forest Prospect through a radio show broadcast from Dallas — even though the issuer had already sold the same units as early as 2018, had not commenced drilling, and had yet to even apply for a permit to drill.
“Scammers have been using radio shows as tools to broadly reach and recruit victims,” said TSSB Enforcement Director Joe Rotunda. “The pundits may appear to be entertaining hosts providing educational information, but they may actually be bad actors peddling fraudulent investment schemes.”
The recent indictments, handed up in June, charge Haycraft with violating the agency’s order, as well as violating state securities registration laws. The charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Haycraft was previously prosecuted for misdemeanor drug offenses, convicted of felony robbery, and sentenced to probation. He was recently prosecuted for felony possession of methamphetamine and ordered to serve a term of community supervision.
“While the responsibility to provide investors with all necessary information to enable them to make fully informed investment decisions falls squarely on the investment promoter, investors need to conduct thorough due diligence…,” said Iles.
He also encouraged Texans to verify the background and experience of promoters and to contact the Texas State Securities Board to explore any red flags associated with an investment “opportunity.”