WESTLAKE VILLAGE — The owner of an oil and gas investment firm who allegedly bilked $9 million out of investors was indicted Wednesday on charges of securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
A federal grand jury returned a 29-count indictment against Joseph T. Sevitski, 49, of Malibu. If convicted, Sevitski faces up to 485 years in prison and a $14-million fine, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Barbara M. Scheper, who is prosecuting the case.
The indictment charges Sevitski, owner and president of Sevitski and Associates based in Westlake Village, with running a Ponzi investment scheme between 1988 and 1991, inducing hundreds of investors in California and other states to invest millions in oil and gas leases.
According to the indictment, Sevitski promised guaranteed monthly returns on investments as high as 140%, based on the sale of oil and gas from his projects.