Oil and Gas

FBI eyes Stabil Drill suit

by Leslie Turk

As ABiz reported Monday, the civil action against two local oil execs is likely to lead to criminal probes by the SEC and FBI.


Photo by Robin May

As ABiz reported Monday](http://theind.com/article-23118-Lawsuit-Stabil-Drill%E2%80%99s-Russo-LeBlanc-bilked-company-for-millions.html), the civil action massive energy services company Superior Energy filed April 19 against two former execs of its Stabil Drill subsidiary is likely to lead to criminal investigations by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Chris Russo

The civil suit, filed in Harris County District Court in Texas, accuses former Stabil Drill Chief Operating Officer Chris Russo and former Chief Financial Officer Marty LeBlanc of masterminding an elaborate scheme to defraud the company. Via a complex scheme of self-dealing, the duo conspired with others — including Scott Kerstetter of Lafayette — to direct payments of more than $65 million to various entities they owned or controlled, the suit alleges.

Superior Energy Services, a publicly traded corporation with worldwide operations and a market cap of $2.4 billion, purchased Stabil Drill the late 1990s for $25 million in cash and notes. The company was founded in 1986 by Chris Russo’s father, the late Sammy Joe Russo.

Marty LeBlanc

A spokesman for the SEC, which enforces federal securities laws, tells ABiz the agency neither confirms nor denies investigations and would withhold any comment on an investigation until charges are filed. The FBI assumes a similar position, but Don Bostic, supervisory special agent for the local FBI office, acknowledges that he is familiar with the allegations contained in the suit.

“We’ve been made aware of the civil suit, and in a case where there are allegations of criminal wrongdoing in a civil action, an FBI investigation could be initiated based on that alone,” Bostic says.

In these types of investigations involving allegations of fraud, the FBI is likely to look into whether federal wire or mail fraud statutes were violated, Bostic says.