- Associated Press - Saturday, December 15, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A California man who was the founder and president of a natural gas and oil company in Utah faces charges in that state alleging he defrauded investors.

The Deseret News reports that the Utah Attorney General’s Office on Friday charged 60-year-old Spencer Kent Barton of Fresno with multiple counts of securities fraud and other crimes.

Charging documents alleged Barton obtained approximately $359,000 in investments for Empire Energy, but withdrew approximately $151,000 in cash and made $28,000 in purchases “consistent with personal use.”

An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Barton, who formerly lived in Ferron in Emery County in rural east-central Utah.

Court records don’t list an attorney who could comment on the allegations and no phone is listed under Barton’s name.

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