Mar 28
2013

Richard M. Plato, the founder of Momentum Production Corp., an oil-and-gas exploration company in Baytown, was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison on March 28 and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution to investors in Momentum.

Plato was convicted Sept. 24, 2012, on five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy. Momentum sold $6.2 million in promissory notes that Plato claimed were secured by the company's interests in South Texas oil and gas leases. The notes turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. U.S. District Judge David Hittner of Houston sentenced Plato, who had been convicted on Sept. 24, 2012, on five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy.

Before Momentum, Plato's record included three previous criminal convictions - one each in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas - and his disbarment as a lawyer.