A former SandRidge Energy landman was sentenced this week to 21 months in prison for committing fraud and accepting kickbacks.
Joel Matthew Eilerts, 40, of San Diego, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Oklahoma City.
U.S. District Judge Robin J. Cauthron sentenced Eilerts on Thursday and ordered him to pay $493,707.59 in restitution to his former employer.
Eilerts worked in SandRidge’s land department from 2009 to 2014. He rose to the positions of senior landman and land supervisor before being promoted to land manager, a position that made him the highest-ranking employee in the company’s land department overseeing Oklahoma operations.
Prosecutors alleged Eilerts was paid at least $345,000 in kickbacks from two brokers he hired to obtain oil and gas leases on behalf of SandRidge, the U.S. attorney’s office reported. If the brokers secured a lease for less than SandRidge was willing to pay, they could keep the difference as profit. Eilerts, however, required the brokers to pay him one third of their profit as a kickback.
Prosecutors also alleged Eilerts directed the brokers to obtain leases in Alfalfa and Garfield counties in which the purported lessor didn’t own the title to leased minerals. When Sandrige issued $208,000 in checks to fund bonuses to the lessors, it was not returned and split between the brokers and Eilerts, the U.S. attorney’s office reported.
The brokers, Robert S. Kerr and Brian Eischeid, pleaded guilty to related crimes and will be sentenced next month.