Robert Helms and Janniece Kaelin Ordered to Halt Texas-Based Oil and Gas Investment Scheme

Robert A. Helms and Janniece S. Kaelin, both from Austin, Texas allegedly misled investors about their experience in the oil and gas industry while raising some $18 million for the purchase of oil and gas royalty interests. Only a fraction of the offering’s proceeds were actually used for the stated purpose. Instead most of the funds were used to cover business and personal expenses, as well as Ponzi payments to earlier investors, according to the charges.

The Securities and Exchange Commission complaint also charged Devin Sellers and Roland Barrera with selling illegal investments on behalf of Helms and Kaelin without being registered with the SEC. They also allegedly misled investors about the sales commissions and referral fees they received.

Helms and Kaelin started offering investments in 2011 via Vendetta Royalty Parters (VRP), a limited partnership that they allegedly control. They have since attracted at least 80 investors from more than a dozen states while promising in offering documents that 99% of the investment proceeds would be used to procure a portfolio of oil and gas royalty interests, according to the charges.

In reality, Helms and Kaelin allegedly used only 10 percent of the proceeds for the stated purpose. What money was properly invested earned only miniscule returns, the regulators alleged.

Helms and Kaelin allegedly directed VRP to make about $5.9 million in so-called partnership income distributions to investors. They used money from newer investors to make the distributions to earlier investors. Helms and Kaelin made it appear that VRP was a profitable enterprise when, in reality, it was merely a Ponzi scheme, according to the regulators’ allegations.

Helms was also accused of misrepresenting his actual experience in investing as his allegedly vast advising management experience was limited to VRP and related companies.

According to the SEC complaint, the defendants violated the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Sellers and Barrera are further accused of acting as unregistered brokers in violation of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

The Peiffer Rosca securities attorneys often represent investors who lose money as a result of Ponzi schemes, investment fraud, or stockbroker misconduct. They are currently investigating the possibility of assisting investors with the recovery of their losses. They take most cases of this type on a contingency fee basis and advance the case costs, and only get paid for their fees and costs out of money they recover for their clients.

Investors who believe they lost money as a result of investment fraud or misconduct may contact the securities lawyers at Peiffer Rosca, Alan Rosca or Joe Peiffer, for a free, no obligation evaluation of their recovery options, at 888-998-0520.

Alan Rosca (1234 Posts)

Alan is a securities lawyer. He also teaches Securities Regulation at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He focuses his legal practice on complex commercial and financial litigation and arbitration, particularly in the areas of securities and investment fraud. His office is in Cleveland, Ohio.


In our legal system, every person is innocent until and unless found guilty by a court of law or a tribunal. Whenever we reference “allegations” or charges that are “alleged,” such allegations or charges have not been proven, and are merely accusations, not findings of fault, as of the date of the blog. We do not have, nor do we undertake, a duty to continue to monitor or follow cases about which we report, and/or to publish subsequent blogs regarding various developments that may occur in such cases. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research regarding any such cases and any developments that may or may not have occurred in such cases.