A League City man on Tuesday pleaded guilty for his role in a $40 million securities fraud conspiracy involving a Houston energy company, federal officials said.

John David Brotherton, 59, of League City, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the last of seven charged in the conspiracy to be convicted, said Angela Dodge, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During the course of the conspiracy, Brotherton, along with several other defendants, obtained control of the stock of several companies, increased the price of the stock through misleading press releases and trading techniques and then dumped their shares onto the market for a profit, Dodge said.

Brotherton helped draft and issue the press releases and designed and managed ads and websites during the scheme, according to the plea agreement documents.

The companies included a defunct Houston company called Chimera Energy.

Brotherton obtained at least $1.9 million as part of the conspiracy, according to plea agreement documents.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison and up to $250,000 in restitution at his sentencing, which is tentatively set for June 3, Dodge said.

Brotherton must also forfeit the money he gained through the conspiracy, according to the plea agreement.

Andrew Ian Farmer, 40, Thomas Galen Massey, 48, Eddie Douglas Austin Jr., 68, Carolyn Price Austin, 64 and Charles Earl Grob, 38, all of Houston, and Scott Russell Sieck, 60, of Winter Park, Florida, have also previously pleaded guilty in the conspiracy, Dodge said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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