SEC: Texas ‘Man Of God’ Ran Nigerian ‘Oil Tanker’ Scheme On Elderly Christians Who Believe He’ll Still Deliver; One Widow May Be Out More Than $1 Million

EDITOR’S NOTE: The allegations against Samuel O. LeMaire are alarming. The case against him may prove to be one that demonstrates how vulnerable people of faith may be to affinity fraud while at once demonstrating how victims don’t want to believe they’ve been fleeced by a con artist even when the evidence is overwhelming.

As many as 50 people have been fleeced in an international scheme in which they were told their investment money would be used in part to help needy children in Nigeria, the SEC said.

Samuel O. LeMaire, a Nigerian living in Texas since the 1980s, told elderly Christians he was starting a “foundation” to help the children and that profits would come as soon as he raised enough money to pay taxes on crude oil from tankers situated “overseas,” the SEC said.

The agency is treating the action against LeMaire as a case of “religious affinity fraud” because he positioned himself as a “minister” and “Man of God,” targeted investors who had no knowledge of the oil business and repeatedly asked them to give him money to finance the offloading of the oil to make profit distributions possible.

No investors received any profits, the SEC said.

Investigators said they believed there was no oil at all, despite the names of LeMaire’s companies — Petrogas Overseas Trading LP and Petroenergy Inc. — and despite LeMaire’s claims he was a former oil executive in Nigeria and well-connected in the oil business.

LeMaire’s scheme had been operating for “at least” two years, and he was collecting money up until the bitter end by telling investors he needed to raise $90,000 to pay “excise taxes” on the oil before profits could be distributed, the SEC said.

At various times, LeMaire told investors the deal was “done or almost done, the funds were in transit, the funds were in a bank account ready to be wired, or any number of similar stories,” the SEC said.

In truth, “LeMaire used investor funds to finance his own lavish lifestyle and support friends and family in the U.S. and abroad,” the SEC said. Investor funds were used for travel and entertainment and to purchase clothing, jewelry and meals in high-end restaurants.

When issued a subpoena, LeMaire asserted his 5th Amendment right not to incriminate himself and declined to answer questions about Petrogas, the SEC said.

Investors were promised returns ranging from 300 percent to 1,000 percent, the SEC said, alleging that the scheme raised at least $2.3 million since 2007.

“The mindset of all Petrogas investors was, and still is, that God wanted them to invest with LeMaire, and that ‘it will all work out in the end,'” the SEC said.


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2 Responses to “SEC: Texas ‘Man Of God’ Ran Nigerian ‘Oil Tanker’ Scheme On Elderly Christians Who Believe He’ll Still Deliver; One Widow May Be Out More Than $1 Million”

  1. you want a story on samuel o lemaire i have known him for seven years i know more then everyone knows about him i also have a judgement for $145,000.00 plus lawyer fee won it last year in the state of texas for more details email me

  2. And we wonder why all those Republicans keep getting reelected. Most successful long con I have ever seen. So much for misplaced faith.