Robert James Nelson of Prosper pleaded guilty in Collin County State District Court to third-degree felony theft for his role in a fraudulent oil and gas scheme was sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication and ordered to pay restitution of $306,250. Nelson paid $165,000 in restitution prior to his guilty plea on Jan. 17.
Nelson sold investment contracts in a six-well oil and gas exploration project in Archer County. The project was supposed to be developed by Acorn Energy Inc., which Nelson served as a company director.
Nelson and a fellow Acorn director were indicted in 2014. The indictment alleged that the men failed to disclose that they used investor funds to pay for expenses unrelated to drilling and other costs.
The indictment also alleged that Smith did not tell prospective investors he was the subject of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding his involvement as a principle of another energy company, Overland Energy Inc.