In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 51-year-old Brian Alfaro, owner of Primera Energy, LLC, to 121 months in federal prison for scheming to defraud investors in his company, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ordered that Alfaro pay $9,922,428.63 in restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
On February 13, 2020, a federal jury convicted Alfaro of eight counts of mail fraud. Evidence presented during trial revealed that from January 2012 to June 2015, Alfaro offered individuals the opportunity to invest in numerous oil and gas prospects, including the Screaming Eagle 4H Prospect in Gonzales County, Screaming Eagle 6H Prospect also in Gonzales County, and Black Hawk Horizontal Buda #1 Prospect. Investors mailed investment checks to Primera in San Antonio. Alfaro told investors their monies would be used for expenses related to operation of the prospects, however, Alfaro used investor funds to support his extravagant lifestyle to include purchasing a high-end Rolex watch and numerous luxury vehicles such as a Lamborghini, a Mercedes Benz and a Porsche. In addition, Alfaro purchased VIP season tickets to the San Antonio Spurs valued at approximately $100,000.
“Today’s ten-year prison sentence guarantees that Mr. Alfaro will not be driving his Lamborghini to his $100,000 VIP seats at the AT&T Center. Instead, he must work to pay back almost $10 million to the victims of his criminal scheme, while serving time in prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Sofer. “White collar crime undermines our economy and causes real damage to real people.”
Many of the victims in this case were retired or nearing retirement and the loss of the investment wiped out their retirement. One victim, a 76-year-old widow, had been using her investment to supplement her social security. She has now been forced to go back to work. A couple, who fell victims to Alfaro’s scheme, had saved up approximately $100,000 over 35 years. They have a daughter with disabilities that will require her to receive care for the rest of her life. The couple invested their entire savings hoping to expand the nest egg that they were building to provide care for their daughter after they pass away. That is all now gone. Many victims had to delay or rethink retirement plans as well as college plans for children and grandchildren.
“Alfaro convinced his victims to invest their hard earned money in profitable oil and gas ventures, but he stole their money and used it to finance an extravagant lifestyle,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs. “While some of his victims were wealthy investors, others trusted Alfaro with their entire life savings and will likely struggle financially for the rest of their lives. The sentence handed down today should serve as a warning to others who seek to victimize and betray investors in our community.”
USA Sofer commended the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation agents who investigated this case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory J. Surovic, Fidel Esparza, III, and Robert Almonte who prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.