Probe launched into God’s own oil company, drilling in Israel
This you should know about Zion Oil and Gas, founded by American ‘born-again Christian’ John Brown, above: it’s not found a drop oil in Israel despite drilling for around 10 years, it’s $168-million in the red – and it is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Zion is unique. Zion’s shareholders are unique. They are more interested in benefitting Israel than they are to make a quick dollar.
John Brown, who said in a video that he was a Catholic until he got “saved”, now calls himself a Christian Zionist, or one who believes that establishing the state of Israel was a prerequisite for the return of Christ.
Once a manufacturing executive in Michigan and a recovering alcoholic, Brown had a “religious awakening” in the early 1980s and moved to Texas, determined to start an oil company after hearing a sermon suggesting the Bible revealed that a massive oil field lies beneath Israel. He founded Zion in 2000.
Brown, who remains chairman of the board, said:
This is a faith company, created by faith, created by God.
His former CEO, Victor Carrillo, who recently resigned from the post, is equally deranged.
I believe that God led me to Zion …
Carrillo, who earned a master’s degree in geology before putting himself through law school, said in 2016 that his job as Zion’s Chief Executive Officer was:
To bring the geology that informs the theology. We make our plans for how and where to drill, but ultimately, the outcome, that’s in God’s hands.
The serving of a subpoena on Zion suggests that an “investigation has progressed to the point that senior enforcement officials have taken a look and think there’s good reason to arm the staff with a compulsory process,” said Jason C Rodgers, a former SEC enforcement attorney who is now a defence attorney with Jackson Walker in Fort Worth.
Andrew Summey, the company’s Vice President for Marketing and Investor relations, said:
Internally, we were not overly surprised [by the SEC investigation] because of the unique character of the company.
He said that many of the company’s investors:
Almost have a donor mentality: They understand they might just lose it. They put the money in as if they’re approaching a non-profit.
Yolanda Holtzee, who lives in Seattle, said she reported the company to the SEC because she suspected it of affinity fraud, which involves calling on a class of investors that have a similar ethnic, religious or other background.
I don’t like to see naive investors get fleeced. On and off for 10 years, I’ve tried to make the SEC aware of what’s going on. Innocent until proven guilty, but – whether it’s Jesus, Hashem, Buddha, Muhammad — I don’t like to see God’s name evoked this way.
Though not commenting on the details of the Zion case, Rodgers said that with affinity fraud:
There’s a heightened betrayal of trust than in a typical scam, because the perpetrators are appealing to individuals as members of a group and holding themselves out as like-minded, when in reality they’re targeting a group of people in a single scam.
Zion noted in an SEC filing.
The company needs further financing for exploration and development activities.