A few months ago I wrote about the long, strange saga of Jason Halek, the fellow who dumped 800,000 gallons of poisonous oilfield brine down an abandoned oil well south of Dickinson. Back in April of this year, he pleaded guilty to three felony violations of the U.S Safe Drinking Water Act for those crimes he committed in late 2012 and early 2013.
Jason was scheduled to be sentenced to 24-30 months in a federal prison on July 31.
Well, July 31 has come and gone, and no sentencing yet. Judge Daniel Hovland in the U.S. District Court in Bismarck postponed sentencing until October 11. I’m not sure why, but when I read through the court docket on the case I learned that on July 19, Halek’s attorney, Alex Reichert of Grand Forks, filed a motion for an extension of time to object to the pre-sentence investigation report. I’m guessing that Reichert’s motion was approved, based on the postponement of sentencing.
Halek’s associate and the guy who fingered him, Nathan Garber, was also scheduled to be sentenced that day, but his sentencing date has also been moved to October 11. He’s going to get off easy, I think, because Halek was the guy the government really wanted, and Garber gave him up.
I’m a little confused about the delay in sentencing, since Halek appeared in court on April 12, and when asked by Hovland how he pleaded, he said “Guilty, your honor.” I guess Hovland called for a pre-sentence investigation, but I missed that. And I guess that’s the reason for the delay.
I’ve had some fun correspondence, from people I don’t know, who have read the stories I’ve written (there have been ten between here and on my blog since early 2013) and got in touch with me. Like this one from a guy in Mexico:
“I had the misfortune of working with Jason Halek in Texas where I finally met with him and his dad one morning and told them they were ripping off investors, and they promptly fired me. Best thing that happened to me for sure. I read with interest he may go to jail soon. Would love an update if possible. I would enjoy being there to hear the judge pass sentence too! Keep up the good work . . . this man is an amazing scam artist and I hope he goes to jail.” (He sent me his phone number and e-mail address, so I will let him know when something happens.)
NOTE: Last I heard, Halek is still on the hook for $22 million he ripped off from those investors. Oh, and he’s still on the hook for about a million and a half dollars in North Dakota fines.
Remember that big, black headline back in 2013 screaming “$1.5 Million Fine” on the front page of North Dakota newspapers? As far as I can tell, Halek hasn’t paid a penny of that–the state has received $40,000 from the bond company that Halek engaged when he went into business here, and that’s it. He still owes most of that $1.5 million.
He’s been selling used cars lately. Gonna take a lot of used cars to clean that up. And he probably won’t have much income for the next few years.
And then just recently, I had a Facebook message from someone I don’t know, and I responded. Here’s the conversation:
MON 12:21PM Steph BL: Did Jason Halek get sentenced yet?
MON 3:41PM Me: Sentencing postponed to October 11.
MON 3:42PM Steph BL: Wow it just keeps dragging on. I was his first girlfriend in 1994 and have been following his story. Lol. Thanks for the reporting. He gets out of everything it seems.
MON 5:23PM Me: Well he has a good lawyer, but I’m guessing he’s going to the pokey for a couple years. We’ll see.
MON 5:24 Steph BL: Probably what he needs in order to hopefully wake him up. He thinks he’s untouchable, invinceable (sic). A true narcissist. I think I probably dodged a bullet when he dumped me. Lol.
Ya think, Steph? Stay tuned. I’ll report back in October.
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