(Adds comment from Brennerman's lawyer)
By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK, June 1 A dual Nigerian and British
national has been charged with defrauding financial institutions
out of more than $300 million by falsely representing his
company as a thriving international oil and gas venture to
Raheem Brennerman, chief executive officer of Blacksands
Pacific Group Inc, was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and
conspiracy in an indictment unsealed Thursday in a federal court
in New York. Federal prosecutors said he used ill-gotten loans
to pay for a condominium in Las Vegas, travel, jewelry, clothes
and spa treatments.
Brennerman was arrested in April on criminal contempt
charges for failing to comply with a $5 million judgment and
other orders in a civil lawsuit brought by one of his lenders,
ICBC (London) Plc, a subsidiary of the Industrial and Commercial
Bank of China, court records show.
He was subsequently released on bail, but the bail was
revoked on Thursday with the unsealing of the indictment.
"It's our position that the charges against Mr. Brennerman
are baseless," Brennerman's lawyer, Maranda Fritz, said in an
Since at least 2011, Brennerman and others lied to multiple
financial institutions to secure more than $300 million in loans
for purported business ventures, but used the money for personal
expenses, prosecutors said in the indictment.
One such loan, for $20 million, came from a bank in November
2013, purportedly to help purchase a California oilfield,
prosecutors said. The indictment does not name the bank, but its
description of the loan matches the one from ICBC described in
ICBC's civil lawsuit.
Prosecutors said Brennerman told the bank that Blacksands
was a significant global oil and gas company with more than $1
billion in long-term assets, $80 million in revenue, and about
100 employees in offices throughout the United States.
In fact, prosecutors said, Blacksands had no more than a
handful of employees, no offices, at best minimal revenue and no
agreement to buy an oilfield.
Brennerman went as far as inventing fictitious senior
executives at Blacksands Pacific and signing agreements on their
behalf, prosecutors said.
The bank extended a $20 million loan to a Blacksands
subsidiary and committed to lending an additional $70 million,
according to the indictment.
The case is United States v. Brennerman, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-337.
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Andrea
Ricci and Paul Simao)