Leila Bennett , a 39-year-old former Weld County oil company employee, was sentenced to ten years in prison earlier this week for stealing company funds. She pled guilty to one count of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, which is a Class 2 felony in the state. Bennett then used the funds to buy land in Nebraska and field services equipment.
She worked for as a procurement and materials supervisor for Whiting Petroleum and Oil on behalf of a third-party contractor at the Redtail pipeline site near the town of Raymer in Weld County. Prosecutors argued that while employed there and between October of 2014 and February of 2015, Bennett stole hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of company oil and materials using her position as supervisor, and then created forged invoices to cover it up. The employees at Whiting were at first not aware of the fraud but became concerned when Bennett’s fraudulent invoices appeared too much like real invoices with a few minor changes.
The invoices were then submitted through Whiting’s payment software and payment was issued to her company, A&H Services, LLC. The scheme also included another employee, stationed in Grand Junction, Colorado, who posed as an A&H employee. No word on if they will be charged.
In addition to the prison time, Bennett will be ordered to pay restitution to Whiting in an amount to be determined in the future by District Judge Marcelo Kopcow.
This comes after Whiting announced its Q3 earnings and is “in good shape to navigate a prolonged period of low oil prices.”
Lilia Fabry is the owner of MPP Freelance, a writing and web design firm in Houston, TX.