PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two former landmen have been sentenced to federal prison in a $2.4 million scheme to steal natural gas drilling rights from 42 western Pennsylvania property owners.
Derek Candelore, 33, of Jeannette, was sentenced to three years, four months in prison, while his co-defendant, William Ray, 29, of Monroeville, received a year and eight months from a federal judge in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Candelore and Ray previously pleaded guilty to forging signatures, deeds and other documents to acquire mineral rights to Washington County properties, which were re-sold to Marcellus shale drilling firm Range Resources.
Federal prosecutors said Range uncovered the scheme once the company realized its employees were negotiating with different people for drilling rights on some of the same parcels.
The men were made jointly responsible for repaying their victims.