Texas E&P Partners Expelled By FINRA for Misconduct Related to Chestnut Exploration Partners

March 30, 2017

Released March 2017

Texas E&P Partners, Inc. fka Chestnut Exploration Partners, Inc. (CRD #127228 , Richardson, Texas) and Mark Allan Plummer (CRD #4608699 Richardson, Texas).

The firm was expelled from FINRA® membership. Plummer was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity and ordered to pay $ 513,961, plus interest, in restitution to customers. The sanctions were based on findings that Plummer misused customer funds by misusing the portion of a completion assessment (certain assessments that were levied on investors for prospective oil and gas well investments) attributable to a prospective well. The findings stated that Plummer collected funds for one purpose—well completion—following a vote by investors and did not use that portion of the funds pertaining to a prospective well for that purpose. Plummer never received permission to use that portion of the assessed funds for other purposes and to date has not repaid those funds to investors (except for settlement payments made to three investors). The findings also stated that the firm had insufficient written supervisory procedures (WSPs). The firm’s business involved acting as a placement agent in connection with investment offerings involving its affiliates, and its supervisory system failed to address conflicts of interest in such offerings.

The findings also included that the firm produced an altered document regarding prospective oil and gas investments to FINRA during its investigation. Plummer intentionally altered the document prior to providing it to FINRA. The firm’s chief compliance officer (CCO) had witnessed the alteration and nevertheless produced the document to FINRA without disclosing its falsity. Plummer acted unethically or in bad faith by falsifying, and thereby rendering misleading, the document that he knew the firm was going to provide to FINRA in connection with its investigation. Plummer also gave false and misleading testimony concerning the document at his FINRA on-the-record interview, and did so intentionally or, at a minimum, recklessly. The Hearing Panel determined that FINRA failed to prove that the firm and Plummer engaged in fraud and made misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the sale of joint venture interests, or that the firm improperly collected or misused customer funds or otherwise acted unethically. Accordingly, those charges were dismissed. (FINRA Case #2014040501801)

Source: FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. 2017
Full Disciplinary Reports Available to the public at: www.finra.org