A Jeanette man was indicted today on charges that he stole mineral rights from landowners in Washington County by using fake companies and forged signatures.
Derek A. Candelore, 33, worked as a landman for Penn-Star Energy of Butler and was responsible for contacting mineral rights owners on behalf of Range Resources Corp. to arrange leases for oil and gas production.
According to a federal grand jury, Mr. Candelore acquired rights for four parcels of land in Washington County by setting up fake corporations starting in 2010.
Federal agents said he filed false deeds and other documents in Washington County to make it appear that the true rights owners had transferred their rights to his companies.
He then sold or leased the rights to others. The U.S. attorney's office is seeking forfeiture of $1.1 million of proceeds from the scheme.
A second landman with whom Mr. Candelore worked, identified in the indictment only as WJR, received proceeds from two of the four sales.
The U.S. attorney's office said the victims include Range Resources, Pecos Bend Royalties of Texas, Buffalo Royalties of Texas and several mineral rights owners.
Mr. Candelore is free on bond pending an appearance hearing Sept. 10 in U.S. District Court.