Jonathan Nelson Faces Criminal Charges - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/17/05

Jonathan Nelson Faces Criminal Charges

Late this afternoon, criminal charges were filed against Jonathan D. Nelson, also known as Jody Nelson. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel has been following the story since NewsChannel 11 broke it last Friday, she has new information on how Nelson may have stolen the money and how he may have spent it.

Nelson is charged with falsely certifying documents to the Security and Exchange Commission while working at Patterson UTI, based out of Snyder.

Documents show the embezzling scheme began in January 2001 when Nelson allegedly created false invoices for a company named XIT Land and Energy, and then forged initials approving the money. NewsChannel 11 researched XIT, but couldn't find any record of the business. We also learned the address for XIT leads to Chisum Travel Center owned by Nelson. The travel center is just one of the five businesses that have been frozen by a federal judge in Lubbock.

Earlier this month, Nelson resigned from Patterson UTI for personal reasons. The company then did an internal investigation, and that's when Nelson confessed to embezzling $29 million. But during the investigation, UTI found invoices dating back to January 2001 that totaled the embezzlement amount to nearly $70 million.

So where did the $70 million go? Court documents say, "Nelson used the funds to purchase an airplane, an airfield, a West Texas cattle ranch, homes, vehicles, and a full-service truck stop, among other things."

NewsChannel 11 visited one of Nelson's homes located at his Three Stars Aviation business, but there was no answer, and no comment from Nelson, Patterson UTI, or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked in the court documents that all Nelson's assets be frozen, including 5 businesses. They have also asked that Nelson disgorge the amount equal to the funds and benefits he might have obtained illegally and pay interest. The S.E.C. also wants Nelson to pay civil penalties, and bar Nelson from serving as an officer or director of any public company.

If convicted criminally, Nelson faces up to 20 years in jail and a $5 million fine.

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