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[SOS] Evansville man sentence to four years in oil well scam
Start Date: 2/26/2014 All Day
End Date: 2/26/2014
Entry Description

Scam artist sold unlicensed investments for his personal gain  

INDIANAPOLIS (February 26, 2014) — Yesterday, John M. Shamo of Evansville was sentenced to four years for selling unregistered investments in oil wells to 20 people in the Tri-State area.  Shamo collected over a million dollars from clients through his company Hopper Resources while running oil wells in Posey County. 

The scam began when Shamo befriended three Posey County brothers who owned land with several oil wells on the property.   Shamo convinced the brothers and other investors to invest funds to open the wells.  Shamo told investors he would use the money to create an investment opportunity and guaranteed his investors their investment in the oil wells would produce a profit.

However, instead of using the money as promised, Shamo use the money to fund his comfortable lifestyle. He used the money to cover his personal expenses such as day care, credit card payments and mortgage payments. He even bought a vehicle with the money.  

“Unfortunately, Shamo could have been stopped in his tracks,” said Secretary Lawson.  “Neither his company nor his products were ever registered with our office.  If only one investor would have called my office or checked our online database, his scheme would have crumbled.  I hope this serves as a reminder to always make sure the investment product and the provider are properly registered with my office. It’s also equally important for entrepreneurs to check with us to make sure they are following the law when soliciting investments.


“I also want to thank Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers for all of his efforts to get justice for these victims. This would not have been possible without his hard work.” 


The investigation of John M. Shamo began when one of his investors filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office. This prompted an investigation by the Secretary of State’s Prosecution Assistance Unit, which led to Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers filing charges against John M. Shamo. Prosecutor Clowers deputized Secretary of State’s office attorney Diana Moers Davis to aid the prosecution.


“Shamo exaggerated his expertise and lied about his products to scam his victims out of their hard-earned money,” said Indiana Securities Commissioner Carol Mihalik. “Gas and oil investments can be an attractive investment and Mr. Shamo used this to his advantage. All investors must do their homework before making any investment decisions.”


In December of 2013, Shamo pleaded guilty to 12 Class C felonies for selling unlicensed securities and for failure to register to sell securities. Yesterday, he was sentenced to four years total; two years community corrections plus two years’ probation to be served concurrent.


For information on how to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud visit

Contact Information:
Name: Valerie Kroeger
Phone: 317-233-8655
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Alerts and Notification
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Secretary of State

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