U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
December 16, 2014

Monroe County Man Convicted of Multiple Counts of Fraud Relating to False Claims of Owning Billions of Dollars of Oil and Negotiable Bank Instruments

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Richard J. Harley, of Shawnee on the Delaware, Pennsylvania, was convicted yesterday after a two-week trial before a federal jury sitting in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, of 23 counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements on bankruptcy schedules. Harley was continued on bail and no date was set for sentencing. Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo presided over the trial.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Harley defrauded investors and attempted to defraud the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and several financial institutions by soliciting money based on false claims that his company, RJH and Co. Inc., owned 10 million barrels of oil in Texas worth over $1 billion and had “unrestricted bond power” over $5 trillion in federal reserve bank instruments supposedly held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a result of the fraud, investors lost approximately $323,800.

The bank fraud charge relates to Harley’s attempt to deposit two phony $500 million checks purportedly issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York into several financial institutions. Harley also filed three fraudulent bankruptcy petitions in 2010, 2011 and 2012 where he attempted to discharge the debt he owed to one of the primary victims of the oil scheme.

Harley was previously convicted of mail and wire fraud and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 2001 for a scheme that defrauded patients and investors relating to a fraudulent ozone-enema treatment he claimed cured AIDS. The jury verdict in the latest case relates to activities that occurred after Harley was released from federal prison.

Harley faces up to thirty years’ imprisonment on each wire fraud and bank fraud charge and up to five years’ imprisonment on each bankruptcy fraud and false statements charge, as well as substantial fines and restitution.

The case was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Brandler, Chief of the Criminal Division.

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