PEARLAND, TX --A former Houston gas trader is out of jail on a $50,000 bond on accusations she bilked several natural gas companies out of nearly $7 million. It all came to an end when the FBI descended on to her home. From outside her Pearland home, it seemed like Stephanie Roqumore had the perfect life. "It seemed like she had it all; she a pretty good life, nice cars; she just sent her son off to college," neighbor Belva Smith said. But that perception changed when neighbors noticed some unusual activity. It started months ago. "It was a few things were happening -- people going through their trash that type of thing," Smith said. A 19-count federal indictment spells out exactly what investigators found. They say she defrauded several oil and gas companies of nearly $7 million. They say it all happened out of Roqumore's office in the Montrose area, which the headquarters for her business SRR Energy Management Resources. No one was there when we stopped by the office. Federal investigators say she submitted falsified financial statements in order to get lines of credit from 10 natural gas companies including Hess, Entergy, Cargill and Adams. She would then buy gas using the credit, sell it to other companies and then keep nearly all the money, never paying back the companies. Smith says not long ago, Roqumore admitted to being in some financial trouble. "She said that she was struggling, when the economy was bad -- as everybody was; I mean, I got laid off from my job," Smith said. At Roqumore's home it's quiet and no one seems to be home, but neighbors are still buzzing. "I was totally shocked because you wouldn't think it would happen in this neighborhood," Smith said. The charges against Roqumore are wire fraud and money laundering. If convicted of all 19 counts, she could get more than 200 years in prison and pay $3 million in fines.
September 15, 2010 8:20:11 PM PDT
By Erik Barajas