Laurel County Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud Natural Gas Companies

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LONDON, Ky. –  A London man, Mark Edward Holbook, 72, was sentenced on Tuesday, by U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom, to 12 months and one day in prison, along with two months of home detention, for conspiracy to rig natural gas meters allowing him to steal thousands of dollars from two Kentucky gas companies.

According to his plea agreement, Mark Holbrook and his son, Marshall Holbrook, worked in the business of sourcing natural gas throughout the past 20 years, drilling wells and acquiring gas rights.  The Holbrooks often used Delta Gas or Somerset Gas Services (SGS) to transport their gas or for direct sales.  In 2016, after the market price of natural gas had fallen substantially, the Holbrooks compensated by manipulating meters that SGS and Delta used on their pipelines to measure how much natural gas the Holbrooks were providing.  This scheme allowed the Holbrooks to boost their profit substantially, while financially harming both SGS and Delta.

Mark Holbrook admitted that the financial loss due to this conspiracy was greater than $250,000 and the Court entered a forfeiture order against him, in the amount of $332,952.  The Court also ordered Mark Holbrook to pay restitution of $1,207,016 to SGS, and $172,964 to Delta.

Earlier this month, Judge Boom sentenced Marshall Holbrook for his role in the same conspiracy.  Marshall Holbrook was sentenced to four months imprisonment and six months of home detention, followed by 18 months of supervised release.  He was ordered to pay Delta $239,642 in restitution.

Upon his release from prison, Mark Holbrook will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office two and a half years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Michael E. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Louisville Field Office, jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Moynahan prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

— END —