A California man was sentenced today to five years in prison for defrauding investors of more than $15 million in connection with a scheme to misappropriate investor funds for his own personal use.

Joey Stanton Dodson, 58, formerly of Indio, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of California to one count of wire fraud on June 14, 2022.

According to court documents, between November 2012 and May 2015, Dodson engaged in a scheme to defraud investors while serving as the executive chairman and managing partner of Citadel Energy (Citadel), which purported to provide fluid-management services to oil and gas companies. In his role, Dodson was responsible for raising funds, controlling the bank accounts, and disseminating financial information to investors for three limited partnerships affiliated with Citadel. As part of the scheme, Dodson made materially false and misleading representations and omissions to prospective and existing investors about the intended use of investor funds, the status of a potential acquisition by a private-equity firm, and Dodson’s own compensation. 

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After inducing victims to invest, Dodson pooled the funds from the limited partnerships and conducted multiple transfers between Citadel-related accounts in order to divert investor funds for his own benefit and to conceal his actions. In total, Dodson fraudulently raised over $15.6 million from more than 50 investors and misappropriated $1.3 million in investor funds, which he used to pay for his personal expenses and to repay earlier investors in unrelated entities known collectively as Duke Equity. After Dodson’s misappropriation was discovered, the limited partnerships were placed into bankruptcy and the investors suffered a total loss of their investments.       

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California, and Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Tripp of the FBI San Francisco Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI San Francisco Field Office investigated the case. 

Trial Attorney Theodore M. Kneller of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Griswold and Marissa Harris for the Northern District of California prosecuted the case.