A grand jury indicted a Monroe County man Friday on 23 counts of fraud.
Richard J. Harley, of Shawnee on Delaware, was indicted on 15 counts of wire fraud, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, five counts of making false statements on bankruptcy schedules, and one count of bank fraud.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the indictment alleges that Harley defrauded various investors and attempted to defraud various financial institutions by soliciting money based on false claims of ownership of 10 million barrels of oil in Texas worth in excess of $700 billion, as well as claiming authority over Federal Reserve instruments worth more than $1 billion.
The federal investigation started when one of Harley's victims sued in Lehigh County and won a judgement against Harley and his company, RJH, for more than $1 million.
Further investigation by the FBI revealed that several other individuals were defrauded by Harley and that Harley had attempted to deposit two fraudulent $500 million checks into various financial institutions in an effort to secure loans.
The indictment also alleges that Harley filed three petitions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2010, 2011, and 2012, making various false statements relating to his assets and liabilities, as well as RJH’s assets and liabilities, in an attempt to cover up his schemes.
Harley faces up to 20 years in prison on each wire fraud charge, up to five years’ imprisonment on the bankruptcy fraud and false statements charges, and up to 30 years on the bank fraud charge.