Man Accused of Felony Theft of Oilfield Equipment Pleads Not Guilty

Man Accused of Felony Theft of Oilfield Equipment Pleads Not Guilty

Allen Meredith, Sweetwater County Detention Center photo

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Green River resident Allen E. Meredith, who was accused of stealing thousands of dollars of oilfield equipment, pleaded not guilty to four felony counts. 

Meredith appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Suzannah Robinson Friday afternoon for an arraignment to one felony charge of conspiracy to commit theft, one felony charge of theft, one felony charge of crimes against computer users, and one felony charge of crimes against intellectual property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. 

If found guilty for all four counts, Meredith could face a maximum penalty of 40 years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary or another designated prison and/or a maximum fine of $40,000. A trial date has been scheduled for August 28 at 9 a.m.

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According to court documents, the charges stem from incidents occurring between October 15, 2021, and April 7, 2022, in which Meredith and David Jay Mansfield allegedly conspired to commit theft, and Meredith allegedly committed theft of equipment from Cannon Oil and Gas (CO&G). 

Mansfield has been charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit theft, one felony count of crimes against intellectual property, and one felony count of crimes against computer users. However, Mansfield has not had an arraignment hearing yet. 

As of March 3, 2022, Andrea Wilkinson, CO&G General Manager, said it appeared CO&G was missing approximately $75,000 worth of equipment, including missing pipe tongs, pipe racks, drill line, blow out prevention supplies, and bales. Wilkinson reported that elevator bales similar to the missing CO&G bales were allegedly seen in Meredith’s shop. 

Wilkinson and her mother Elaine Cannon, who is the owner of CO&G, reported in April 2022 that they believed Meredith took the equipment to start his own company, Mountain West Energy Services (MWES).  

Meredith’s Resignation and New Oil Business

Court documents state that Meredith had been an employee of CO&G for the past 39 years and was the General Manager at the time of his resignation in March of 2022. Robert Cannon, the company’s original owner, passed away in October of 2021. After his passing, Robert’s wife Elaine Cannon became the owner along with Wilkinson, their daughter. Meredith is the nephew of the late Robert Cannon, as his mother is Robert’s sister. 

Wilkinson told Meredith she wanted to come to Rock Springs after her father’s passing to tell the CO&G employees what was happening to the business. Meredith told Wilkinson that she did not need to come to Rock Springs and that he would tell the employees that “it is business as usual” and he would continue operations. 

However, Wilkinson said that while oilfield work had picked up, CO&G rigs were not working. When she asked Meredith why that was, he allegedly told Wilkinson that he was getting permits and other stuff done before the rigs started working again. 

On March 28, 2022, Wilkinson was informed by office personnel that Meredith had resigned from CO&G on March 26, 2022. 

On the day of Meredith’s resignation, he allegedly held a meeting with CO&G employees where he offered them jobs with his new company and told them their pay would stay the same. 

Employees Ryan Chabre and Cody Anglesey, both attended the meeting but chose to stay with CO&G. They allegedly informed Wilkinson that they observed some equipment that they believed to be the missing items from CO&G at Meredith’s new business. 

Additionally, within a few days of Meredith’s resignation 15 to 20 CO&G employees and two operations managers, Jim Johnson and Mansfield, quit CO&G. 

CO&G Sale Falls Through

Court documents state Wilkinson wanted to sell the company following her father’s death and she notified Meredith of this. Meredith expressed interest in buying the company. Meredith allegedly signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement, promising not to target CO&G employees or disrupt the business. 

Meredith allegedly told Detective Matt Wharton the purchase of the company “fell through” because Cannon and Wilkinson would not sign a Right of Refusal agreement, which he wanted so if someone came in and offered more money for the company he would have time to match the amount. 

Meredith was also requesting the company’s financial history for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Wilkinson reported that CO&G would not provide Meredith with that information because he was a current employee, but they would provide his bank with the financial history so long as his bank made a reasonable offer for the company, which was $11 million. Meredith allegedly told the CO&G accountant that he could not afford $11 million without seeing the financials. 

Wilkinson said she was ready to send the financial history to Meredith’s bank, and would do so when a pre-approval letter was provided by his bank. However, she said she did not hear back from Meredith again about purchasing the company. 

According to court documents, Wilkinson later found out Meredith had allegedly filed his new business with the Wyoming Secretary of State on February 1, 2022. She stated the conversation with Meredith about not providing the company’s financial history directly to him occurred on February 4, 2022. This led Wilkinson and Cannon to believe Meredith was planning to leave all along, and that they had been paying him for three months while he was starting his own business. 

Missing Equipment Seized

Several witnesses reported seeing what they believed to be missing equipment from CO&G on Meredith’s new business’s property. 

Anglesey visited Meredith’s new business’s property as Meredith was allegedly attempting to recruit him, and while there he noticed several missing items he believed to belong to CO&G that were missing from storage property in Farson. 

During a visit to Meredith’s new business’s property, Detective Wharton said he observed five large storage bins that contained pipe. The color of the bins were different shades of blue. The court documents explain that CO&G paints their equipment blue (“Cannon Blue”) that identifies them as CO&G’s property. According to court documents, Cannon Blue paint was only mixed at one auto-parts store in Lander, and was a custom color. 

Meredith allegedly told Detective Wharton the bins and pipe belonged to Crowheart Energy, not CO&G. However, CO&G believed the equipment was given to them. Meredith stated that Crowheart Energy was unaware CO&G had the pipe bins with the pipe until Meredith contacted them and told them. 

Meredith had allegedly moved the pipe bins and pipe to his property from CO&G’s property in Wamsutter because he did not want CO&G thinking the equipment belonged to them. When asked why Meredith took it upon himself to make sure CO&G did not keep the pipe, he allegedly said “I know that they think everything is theirs and that pipe is clearly not theirs.” 

He allegedly stated he felt he was authorized to move the bins and pipe to his property because he was still working for CO&G. However, he allegedly said Cannon and Wilkinson did not know he moved the pipe bins from Wamsutter to his property. 

On April 4, 2022, Detective Wharton received an email from Chabre listing CO&G missing equipment which included one orange weight indicator and two spools of one-inch swaged drill line. 

A search warrant was granted on April 6, 2022, and resulted in over 15 items being seized from Meredith’s property that allegedly belonged to CO&G, including seven large blue pipe bins with piping, one orange weight indicator, and two one-inch swaged drill line on two separate spools. 

On April 2, 2022, Meredith sent two invoices from Hud’s Wholesale Inc. to Detective Wharton listing out miscellaneous oilfield equipment he purchased. The second invoice listed drill line as part of the purchases. Ricky Alvarado, co-owner of Hud’s Wholesale Inc., told Detective Wharton he had created the first invoice for the purchase of equipment, however he could not locate the second invoice. He recalled the purchase was done through a cash sale. 

Alvarado said it was possible that the second invoice was voided and the first invoice was created after Meredith added more items to his purchase. However, Alvarado said he was “uncomfortable with the situation” because the description of items in the second invoice did not seem correct. 

Court documents state that Alvarado allegedly said, “What I’m uncomfortable with is, specific items being talked about like that, because yes there was some drill line, but I can’t tell you drill line length of any of that stuff, because it was taken off of rigs.” Alvarado was not confident that the drill line was included in the sale. 

On April 14, 2022, Detective Wharton emailed Alvarado with photos of the one-inch swaged drill line on two separate spools that were seized from Meredith’s property, and asked if Alvarado’s business sold brand new drill line like pictured. Alvarado said he looked through photographs taken when he purchased STN Well Services and did not observe any photographs of drill line. 

Additionally, former CO&G employee Chad Frazier who left to work for Meredith told detectives he noticed several pieces of oilfield equipment having a base layer of “sky blue” paint at MWES. He said there was a set of pipe racks at MWES with a layer of paint the same blue color as CO&G. He was allegedly instructed to sand the layer of paint off so they could paint them a new color.

On June 26, 2022, detectives spoke to Eric Nations regarding the case, in which Nations said he walks his dog by the location of MWES and noticed on March 25, 2022 that random oilfield equipment started showing up, including an orange water tank. He observed a CO&G bed truck dropping off the equipment. On April 4, 2022, he was in the area again and noticed pipe bins similar to Cannon Blue, with pipe, and the orange water tank. 

Claims of Embezzlement

Wilkinson said that in November 2021, she flagged an invoice that was digitally signed by Meredith and hand wrote that the $6,636 invoice was for repair and maintenance on one of the company’s trucks. 

The repairs were done through Ron’s Ace Rentals. Wilkinson called for the mechanic’s notes on the work that was done and they said it was for a new rear suspension system and airbags that had been placed on Meredith’s big motor home, for a total of $6,320. 

Wilkinson said Meredith “essentially embezzled” the money from CO&G. On April 15, 2022, Wilkinson reported that she received a check from Ron’s Ace Rentals with a note saying that after she inquired, they looked at the books and realized they double billed for the work on the motorhome. Wilkinson was given a check in the amount of $6,636 and the memo line read “Refund”. 

Ron Roy of Ron’s Ace Rentals told Detective Jeff Sheaman that he had done the work on the motorhome and initially assumed it belonged to CO&G, but later determined it belonged to Meredith. He stated he reimbursed CO&G before Meredith paid him cash to cover the amount. 

In an interview with Roy on October 5, 2022, detectives said Roy claimed Meredith paid for the work on the motorhome in cash in November 2021. Roy said he took the money Meredith gave him and gambled with it in Arizona. The employee who had changed the invoice after Wilkinson inquired, Kyus Havskjold, said Meredith paid cash for the work on his motorhome after the investigation started and after the reimbursement check had been written and sent to CO&G. 

Roy also stated that he knew Meredith but they were not close. However, Havskjold said Roy and Meredith were very close and went golfing together every Wednesday during the summer. 

Tara Shalata, who does invoicing for Ron’s Ace Rentals, said Meredith did pay in cash and she deposited that into their account. She added that she believed he paid in April of 2022. She then stated that nothing like this situation had ever happened before. 

Computer Crimes

Wilkinson reported Mansfield allegedly authorized iScout/KPA to transfer CO&G intellectual documents into the business name of Meredith’s son, Andrew. The business is Mountain West Disposal in Fort Collins. Detective Wharton found an email chain confirming this claim. 

The emails show Andrew asking iScout/KPA how to go about getting forms from CO&G and making changes for his own business’s use. The employee responds by saying they’d need to have CO&G admins email their permission to use the forms. Andrew forwarded the email to Meredith saying “I do not want to make waves but I’m guessing it would be Dave or you who would tell them [it’s] okay to get those?” 

Meredith then asked Mansfield in an email to grant that permission, which Mansfield did. 

Detective Wharton also reviewed several of MWES’s policy, new hire, code of safe practices, confidentiality agreements, and other documents, and they were all identical other than MWES’s name and information in place of CO&G’s. 

Detective Wharton took possession of Meredith’s CO&G desktop and did a forensic scan on them and determined the hard drive was Bitlocker Encrypted, which is a data protection feature that encrypts drives on a computer to prevent data theft or exposure. 

He then spoke with CO&G’s IT person Jimmy Moore with Moore Technology about the encryption. Moore said he does not maintain Bitlocker Encryption on anything because it locks the computer down and makes it so people can’t get into it. Court documents state that he said, “…if somebody left or a computer got moved around to a new user, you are locked out. That was never a procedure that was taken.”

Other Claims

On November 21, 2022, Wilkinson reported she believed Tynsky Law Office had billed CO&G for attorney fees related to Meredith’s new business. Justin Tynsky told Detective Wharton during a phone interview Meredith had reached out after Robert’s passing and said that CG&O was going to sell. 

Tynksy said Meredith had him review new hire paperwork, which Tynsky assumed was to make sure all the paperwork was in order in case CO&G found a buyer for the company. It is alleged that the paperwork was for MWES instead of CO&G. 

Wilkinson also alleged that Mansfield, Johnson, and Meredith were all involved with everything going on to build Meredith’s new business. She alleged that this includes ordering excess supplies and unneeded supplies that had gone missing, and taking the Cannon trucks and semis to go collect and move equipment for the new business. 

Wilkinson reported that Mansfield had allegedly canceled CO&G’s GPS tracking system subscription on all of their vehicles on February 28, 2022, with no reason to do so. Even though CO&G semi-trucks were not working during the beginning of March 2022, CO&G went through over 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel. 

Meredith will remain out of custody on a $5,000 cash bond. He was ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with any of the witnesses or victims of the case. He will not be allowed to leave the state of Wyoming without court approval. He is also not allowed to discuss the case with Johnson or Mansfield. 

Mansfield’s arraignment is yet to be scheduled and Johnson has not been charged with anything. However, Meredith’s attorney Sean Scoggin told Judge Robinson that the Cannon family and CO&G have just recently filed a civil suit against Meredith, Johnson, and Mansfield.