Dec. 11–Ryan Gilbertson, a founder of a Wayzata oil services company, was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for multiple fraud offenses in a stock manipulation scheme.
Gilbertson co-founded the now defunct Dakota Plains Holdings, which owned a facility in North Dakota that loaded oil onto rail cars. Gilbertson was charged with manipulation of the company’s stock after it went public in 2012, a complex plan that triggered bonus payments of over $30 million to Gilbertson and another company co-founder.
In June, Gilbertson, 42, was convicted on 14 counts of wire fraud; six counts of securities fraud; and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. In presentencing filings, Gilbertson, of Delano, asked for 12 to 18 months of home confinement. The federal government called for 25 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz ordered 12 years of incarceration, a $2 million fine and $15 million in restitution.
“Mr. Gilbertson has committed an extremely serious crime, brazenly trying to steal $32 million from Dakota Plains” and its shareholders, Schiltz said from the bench in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. It was an act “of almost pure, unalloyed, unfathomable greed.”
Gilbertson was already a wealthy man, “yet that was not enough for him,” Schiltz said. He orchestrated the stock manipulation “in an attempt to stuff millions of dollars more into (accounts) that were already overflowing.” And he never showed “the slightest remorse,” Schiltz said.
Before the sentencing, Gilbertson, dressed in a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and yellow tie, told the court he “stood here, humbled, stripped and bared of everything I have worked for in my life.”
Noting he had founded 11 companies, Gilbertson said, “I like creating things and building things and seeing them grow.” Investors won great returns in many of his ventures, Gilbertson said.
“I realize today it only takes a single one to wipe away a whole lifetime of work,” he said. “The distance of the fall is great.”
Schiltz recommended that Gilbertson serve his sentence at the federal prison camp in Duluth, since it’s close to his family, which includes his wife and 9-year old son.
Dakota Plains eventually became a casualty of the oil bust that swept through North Dakota after the price of oil crashed in 2015. The company went bankrupt in 2016.
(c)2018 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.