| Crime |

Dallas Parole Officer Nichelle Derricks Took Bribes To Overlook Alan Todd May's $7 Million Oil Scam, Feds Say

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It's hard to forget Alan Todd May. He's the Texas con man who, until his phone privileges were revoked, used to sell spaces in made-up trade shows from his Harris County prison cell, not to mention any number of more pedestrian financial misdeeds.

His boldest scheme started in 2008, when he formed a Dallas-based company he called Prosper Oil & Gas. Over the next two years, May convinced investors to give him $7 million that, rather than putting it into oil and gas development like he promised, he spent on a Ferrari, a Mercedes, a BMW and several million-dollar homes.

The law finally caught up with May two years ago in San Francisco, where he had fled and was living under phony names like Mark Mangum, Brian Peirce and Justin Gore. He was brought back to Dallas for trial, pleaded guilty to mail fraud, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The thing is, May shouldn't have been in San Francisco. He shouldn't have even had access to a checking account. May had been released on parole from a Texas prison in 2007 on the condition that he remain in the state and not engage in any financial chicanery. Making sure May lived by those rules was the responsibility of his parole officer.

That May so effectively flouted the rules of his parole might seem a testament to his well-developed powers of persuasion, but the feds say he had help in the form of Nichelle Derricks, who acted as his parole officer.

According to an indictment filed Wednesday in federal court, Derricks looked the other way for two years as May defrauded investors of millions (and violated the terms of his parole). In exchange, she received cash, furniture, household goods and was treated to drinks and meals by May, presumably at the bars and restaurants where they had supervisory meetings. All told, she received upward of $5,000.

The feds' filing does not name May or Prosper, referring to them only as Person A and Company A, respectively, but the details provided -- the 2007 parole, the May 2008 to March 2010 oil fraud scheme, the company's April 25, 2008 incorporation -- line up perfectly.

Derricks is charged with one count of wire fraud related to some bedroom furniture May charged to a credit card and with bribery involving a program that receives federal funds, as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's parole system does. Attempts to find contact information for her were unsuccessful.

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