Petrobridge Fraud Causes Investor Losses

January 19, 2022

National investment fraud lawyers KlaymanToskes is investigating on behalf of investors of two oil and gas joint ventures offered by Petrobridge Energy, LLC (“Petrobridge Fraud”) in light of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s December 2021 Complaint. The Complaint charges four individuals in connection with a fraudulent oil & gas offering.  

The Petrobridge Fraud

In December 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Timothy Burroughs, Jay Holstine, John Griffin, and Michael Oswald Williams for their roles in raising approximately $3.2 million from approximately 50 investors through the fraudulent and unregistered offer and sale of interests in two oil and gas joint ventures offered by Petrobridge Energy, LLC.

According to the SEC, between at least February 2016 and March 2017, Timothy Burroughs and Jay Holstine raised around $3.2 million in investor funds through the fraudulent and unregistered offer and sale of interests in two oil and gas joint ventures: the Petrobridge South Louisiana Joint Venture (“SLJV” or “SLJV Offering”) and the Petrobridge Starks #1 Joint Venture (“Starks JV” or “Starks JV Offering”) (collectively, the “Petrobridge Offerings.”).

How Did the PetroBridge Oil and Gas Fraud Allegedly Work?

PetroBridge Energy, LLC enticed investors with promises of oversized returns,while concealing critical material information. For instance, they failed to disclose that Timothy Burroughs had an extensive disciplinary history spanning more than 17 years for violations of the securities laws in no less than six states, which included findings that Burroughs failed to disclose material information to investors.

In an effort to hide Burrough’s involvement, Holstine served as Petrobridge’s front man for the business. Holstine allegedly approved and distributed the false and misleading offering materials and took actions that helped Timothy Burroughs conceal his involvement in Petrobridge and its offering.

In addition, the Starks JV offering materials contained false promises of investment returns between 37% and 59% that failed to account for operating expenses. Burroughs and Holstine also misrepresented the size of the oil and gas well leases and acreage in the Starks JV, which was to be the source of the investment returns.

What is PetroBridge Energy, LLC?

PetroBridge Energy LLC  was a Texas limited liability company with its principal place of business in Dallas, Texas, from July 2015 until its registration with the Texas Secretary of State was revoked in January 2019. Petrobridge’s parent entity is Marcelina Creek, LLC (“Marcelina”), which is co-owned by Burroughs and Holstine. Petrobridge served as the joint venture manager for the Petrobridge Offerings.

Misrepresentations, Omissions in Stark JV’s Offering Materials

The offering materials for the Starks JV allegedly made material misrepresentations and/or omitted material facts. Specifically, per the SEC Complaint, the Starks JV offering materials:

  • Promised investors that they would acquire an interest in the leases without also disclosing that their interests could be lost if the operator failed to perform certain actions. Unfortunately for Starks JV investors, this omitted fact happened. The operator failed to plug the required number of wells and the lease owner terminated the lease, leaving the Starks JV investors without any ownership interest in the Starks JV wells;
  • Falsely claimed that the Starks JV had possession of 1,460 leasehold acres when the leases at issue actually only included 1,207 acres. Further, Burroughs and Holstine sold $550,000 in Stark JV interests to ten investor victims before the operator even acquired any of the relevant acreage—a critical fact they failed to disclose; and
  • Enticed investors with expected investment returns between 37% and 59% without taking into account lease operating expenses, which should have reduced the projected returns by at least 12%.

What is the Status of the SEC’s Case?

According to SEC press release, three defendants in the case have agreed to settle, without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, the Commission’s charges by consenting to the entry of final judgments that permanently enjoin them from committing future violations of the charged provisions.

The three co-defendants also were ordered to make payments in the case. Specifically, Holstine is to pay $335,219.67 in disgorgement plus prejudgment interest and an $85,000 civil penalty; Williams to pay $284,860.76 in disgorgement plus prejudgment interest and a $50,000 civil penalty; and Griffin to pay $150,469.84 in disgorgement plus prejudgment interest and a $50,000 civil penalty. Williams and Griffin have also agreed to the issuance of certain securities industry and penny stock bars in related follow-on administrative proceedings. The settlements are subject to court approval.

In the SEC’s case against Burroughs, which will be litigated, the SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, a civil penalty, and a bar from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

Common Red Flags for Oil & Gas Offerings

In its Investor Alert, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education detailed red flags concerning private oil & gas offerings. Those include:

  • Sales pitches referring to recent news events like high oil or gas prices.
  •  “Can’t miss” wells and “guaranteed” returns, including claims that major oil and gas companies are drilling nearby.
  • Abnormally high rates of return.
  • Unsolicited materials. n Sales tactics that pressure you to decide, like “limited” or “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
  •  Sales pitches touting new technology, especially if it relates to getting higher production out of low-producing wells (sometimes called “stripper” wells).
  • Salesperson claims to be an investor.
  • Being asked to sign documents acknowledging that the securities laws do not apply to the investment

Recover Investment Losses for Petrobridge Fraud

Investors of Petrobridge South Louisiana Joint Venture (“SLJV” or “SLJV Offering”) or the Petrobridge Starks #1 Joint Venture with losses in excess of $250,000, and those who have information relating to the alleged Petrobridge fraud, are encouraged to contact Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq. at (561) 542-5131, and download our Special Investor Report.

About Us

KlaymanToskes is a leading national securities law firm which practices exclusively in the field of securities arbitration on behalf of retail and institutional investors throughout the world in large and complex securities matters. KlaymanToskes has recovered more than $225 million for investors in FINRA arbitrations. KlaymanToskes has office locations in California, Florida, New York, and Puerto Rico.


Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq.
(561) 542-5131