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Monday, December 9, 2019

ConocoPhillips alleges natural gas broker took more than $1 million by creating false Invoice

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Nov 25, 2019

Stichelmark
Stichel

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) – ConocoPhillips alleges the Maryland broker of its natural gas deal with CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp. has kept the monies from a more than $1 million fake invoice.

ConocoPhillips Co. filed a complaint Nov. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Troy Holland and HIC Energy Partners LLC alleging intentional misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy and other counts.

According to the suit, CenterPoint purchased natural gas from ConocoPhillips and entered into a contract with HIC to broker the deal in May 2016. The suit states due to a processing error in June, the plaintiff's accounting system showed two payments from CenterPoint to it, indicating an overpayment of $1.3 million.

The plaintiff alleges one of its employees contacted Holland to correct the error, but Holland created and provided a false invoice to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleges it contacted Holland again in July explaining the issue was an error and not an overpayment and asked for the return of the payment, but Holland did not do so. The plaintiff alleges it has been unable to contact Holland.

The suit states the plaintiff's Lower 48 security program manager reported the issue to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which forwarded the case to the Department of Justice.

ConocoPhillips seeks monetary relief of $1.3 million, interest and all other just relief. It is represented by H. Mark Stichel and Trisha Scott of Astrachan Gunst Thomas PC in Baltimore. 

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland case number 1:19-CV-03259-SAG

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