PITTSBURGH (AP) — The first of two former landmen has been sentenced to 3½ years in prison in a $2.4 million scheme to steal natural gas drilling rights from western Pennsylvania property owners.
Thirty-three-year-old Derek Candelore, of Jeannette, was sentenced Friday, and his co-defendant, 29-year-old William Ray, of Monroeville, was set to face U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh later in the day.
Candelore and Ray have pleaded guilty to forging signatures, deeds and other documents to acquire mineral rights to some 40 Washington County properties, which were re-sold to Marcellus Shale drilling firm Range Resources.
Federal prosecutors say Range uncovered the scheme once the company realized its employees were negotiating with different people for drilling rights on some of the same parcels.
Candelore has surrendered $679,000 and forfeited his $400,000 house to help repay the victims.