NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Securities Division announces disciplinary action against a Nashville-based oil and gas investment business and its principal found in violation of the state’s securities laws.
TDCI cited Royal Energy of Tennessee, LLC and operator John G. Westine Jr. for multiple violations after receiving a complaint from an investor alleging fraud and other unlawful activities were being conducted at the business located at 424 Church Street, Suite 200 in Nashville. The violations include: Selling securities that were not registered; selling securities without being registered as a broker-dealer or investment adviser; and engaging in a scheme to defraud investors.
“The Department is committed to protecting Tennessee consumers from investment fraud,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner for Securities Frank Borger-Gilligan. “We will continue to identify and investigate those found breaking the state’s security laws. We urge consumers to contact us if they believe they have been the victim of fraud.”
A Final Order imposes $170,000 in civil penalties against Royal Energy of Tennessee and Westine, and permanently bars them from any further conduct as a broker dealer, agent of a broker-dealer, investment adviser, or investment adviser representative in the State of Tennessee.
Westine, who also used the aliases Michael Ross and/or Michael Hicks in the course of the securities-related activities, is a former resident of California and is currently incarcerated in the federal penitentiary in Victorville, California as a result of a federal criminal prosecution in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Tennesseans are encouraged to visit TDCI’s website where they can inspect disciplinary actions and verify licenses of securities and insurance professionals.
If you suspect that you might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud, or if you would like to file a complaint or speak with an investigator, please contact the Tennessee Securities Division – Financial Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900. To file a complaint online, visit https://tn.gov/commerce/article/securities-file-a-complaint.