He told investors he was a special ops war hero. Prosecutors say it was a ruse.
Derek Robert Hamm, 38, has regaled would-be investors by claiming to be a successful oilman, the nephew of a billionaire oil tycoon and a decorated war hero with special operations forces from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also allegedly claimed to own oil wells and received a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions while deployed to the Middle East.
But none of that was true, according to a January 20 Press release from the Eastern District of Texas Attorney’s Office.
Instead, Hamm was a failing oil businessman whose first company, Oilfield Goods and Services, was shut down for tax reasons, according to court documents. His second company, Continental Instruments, had its charter revoked by the state of Texas in 2018.
Hamm, according to court records, had also been successfully sued by his so-called “billionaire oil magnate uncle,” Harold Hamm, not only for a falsely claimed family relationship, but for posing as a high-ranking member. of Continental Resources Incorporated, an American oil and natural gas exploration and production company.
The 33-count indictment against Hamm also alleges that in addition to these claims of success and power in the oil industry, Hamm lied about being a war hero in order to bolster investors’ confidence in it.
While Hamm actually enlisted in the Indiana National Guard in 2001 – and deployed to Iraq with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry between 2003 and 2004 , according to court documents – he was not the special ops war hero he allegedly presented himself as.
According to court documents, the guard allegedly claimed he graduated from West Point in 2003 and spent 10 years in the military several times in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the Middle East. Prosecutors say he told people he was a sergeant – although he attended the service academy – with the 1st Battalion, 5th Group, Delta Company.
Court documents allege Hamm also claimed to have received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart in addition to the Distinguished Service Cross. Hamm’s actual service record, according to the indictment, shows he instead received the non-worth awards of the Iraq Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, army service ribbon and global war on terror service medal. He had also been discharged from the Oklahoma National Guard in 2007 after being transferred after his deployment.
Hamm also allegedly claimed he was a “master airborne soldier with 258 combat jumps,” according to court documents.
Through these claims, Hamm could have created an extensive network that led him to investors whom he convinced to fund projects related to the oil and gas drilling industry.
Instead, the indictment shows Hamm used the nearly $1.7 million in defrauded funds for expensive personal gifts, including nearly $500,000 in jewelry and vehicles for himself and his family. .
For these claims and the resulting benefits, Hamm was charged with 31 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and using a fraudulent military discharge certificate, after he forged a DD214 to reflect service in the field of special operations.
These charges also included violating the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which prohibits fraudulently wearing medals, embellishing combat-related ranks or service records, or making false declarations of service in order to obtain money, property, employment or other Tangible Benefits.
In addition to his alleged fraud scheme, Hamm has also been charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, after being convicted in 2020 of theft of property in the county of Smith, making him a criminal and therefore prohibited by federal law. to own or possess ammunition or firearms, according to the press release.
Hamm was also banned from owning firearms or ammunition after a 2005 conviction for assaulting a family member.
For the 33 charges against him, Hamm faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Robert Austin Wells and Ryan Locker.
He remains under investigation by the FBI Tyler Field Office, the Tyler Police Department, the VA Inspector General’s Office, and several other law enforcement agencies across the country. Arizona and Texas.
The FBI asks that if you or someone you know has been victimized by Hamm, contact them at 903-594-3503. He is also known as D. Wayne Hamm II, Wayne Hamm, D. Wayne H., DW Hamm and RD Hamm, according to the press release.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, a Penn State alumnus, and a master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.