A wealthy Utah businessman has been fined $50,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service work after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges in a $17 million oil-pricing scam.
U.S. district Judge Paul Rosenblatt on Monday sentenced Robert D. Martin of Bountiful, Utah, and a lesser figure in the scheme, L. Craig Ford of Newhall, Calif. Martin and Ford were the first of five defendants to be sentenced. Ford was fined $2,500.The five illegally inflated the price of crude they sold from January 1980 to May 1981 by allegedly manipulating a complex set of rules Congress had imposed that allow traders to sell oil from new wells at a higher price. The rules were meant to control the price of crude oil in the United States while encouraging new exploration and development.
The businessmen and their companies were indicted in 1985 on fraud charges, technically for interfering with the U.S. Department of Energy's administration of crude oil price controls in 1980 and 1981.
Martin was president of Western Refining Co. in Woods Cross, Utah, which ran an independent oil refinery.