Vance McAllister

Former 5th District Congressman Vance McAllister launched a business in 2016 with a Youngsville man indicted last week on nine counts of wire fraud stemming from his involvement in a million dollar Ponzi scheme.

McAllister, of Swartz, who served as the 5th Congressional District’s representative from 2013 to 2014, said Donnie Laing, 39, of Youngsville, still owed him money through their business.

U.S. Attorney David Joseph’s office indicted Laing last week for orchestrating the defrauding of investors for supposed oil and gas exploration activities through Laing’s company, Capital Energy Investments.

Laing was the sole owner of Capital Energy Investments, through which the alleged defrauding took place. Laing formed Capital Energy Investments in February 2017.

From April 2018 through November 2018, Laing orchestrated a Ponzi scheme soliciting money from several investors by promising them high rates of return, according to the indictment.

An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

McAllister, who has had several oil and gas interests, launched an energy company with Laing in 2016, according to Secretary of State records. State records show Laing, McAllister and McAllister’s father, Gene, filed a domestic charter for E5 Energy LLC on Sept. 26, 2016.

McAllister told The Ouachita Citizen on Tuesday he was surprised to hear of Laing’s indictment.

“Are you serious? When did this happen?” McAllister said. “I haven’t been able to get a hold of Donnie for a week now.”

“This is all news to me,” he added.

In 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued a Texas oil and gas exploration company part-owned by McAllister for defrauding at least 80 investors out of some $8 million.

Concerning the domestic charter for E5 Energy LLC, McAllister said, “Donnie did that.”

“It was an equipment rental company at the time,” he said.

McAllister said E5 Energy started after Laing sought their investment.

“That’s how E5 Energy started,” McAllister said. “Me and my dad were investors with Donnie. He owes us money still.”

When asked whether he had spoken with the FBI, McAllister said, “No, I have not.”

According to Secretary of State records, Laing, McAllister and McAllister’s father are no longer listed as agents, managers, or members of the E5 Energy corporation.

The company is not in good standing for failure to file an annual report. As of October 2018, its officers included Jayne Stagg, of Calhoun, and T. Michelle Herring, of West Monroe.

The Ouachita Citizen was unable to reach Stagg.

Herring told The Ouachita Citizen the company was “nothing now.”

“It was supposed to be about equipment rentals in the oil and gas industry,” Herring said. “It’s not anything. It’s kind of a mess.”

Referring to the U.S. Attorney’s recent indictment of Laing, Herring said, “There’s a lot going on that will come out about what really transpired with this company.”

“I don’t know that I need to give an interview on things,” she said. “It’s not good.”

The U.S. Attorney’s indictment last week outlined the details of Laing’s alleged Ponzi scheme.

The indictment stated Laing was assisted by a “well-known associate” in northeastern Louisiana, though it did not identify the associate by name. The U.S. Attorney’s office simply said the associate was well-known in Monroe and the region because of his former position as a congressman.

Laing was aided and abetted by his well-known associate in a scheme promising investors that Capital Energy would use money to invest in oil and gas equipment and later lease the equipment to companies engaged in oil and gas exploration activities such as fracking wells.

“Throughout the scheme, Laing submitted false proposals and contracts to the Ponzi investors to persuade them to invest their money with Capital,” stated the U.S. Attorney’s office. “He also used funds from new investors to make ‘lulling’ payments to his victims to solicit additional monies and to avoid detection. Contrary to his representations, Laing used investor funds for his own purposes.”

According to the indictment, Laing wrongfully obtained more than $1 million from investors.

He faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, restitution to victims and a fine of up to $250,000.

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