La. attorney general issues warning of mineral rights scam
Gannett Capitol Bureau • August 20, 2008
BATON ROUGE – With property in northwest Louisiana in high demand for drilling leases in the Haynesville Shale, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell cautions landowners to beware of a scheme designed to steal their mineral rights.
Caldwell’s office says consumers should watch out for letters in the mail that contain a check and ask property owners to sign documents and return them.
“You should be extremely cautious because you may be permanently signing away valuable mineral rights without realizing it,” the warning says.
“The document you are asked to sign may actually be a mineral deed with a general power of attorney. If you sign the document, the power of attorney might be used to amend the document, after you sign it, to reflect that all mineral assets, even those already in production, are turned over for very little money.”
The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section urges any consumer who receives such documents in the mail to check the offer out with an attorney before signing anything.
“This is just one example of the type of issue that can come up during a mineral lease or sale transaction,” the alert says. “The attorney general encourages all property owners in Louisiana to seek legal advice before signing any documents relating to the sale or lease of mineral rights.
If you believe you may be the victim of a mineral lease scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889.
They need a power of attorney to change things? Really??
What would keep them from doing that anyway?
The land owner doesn't need to be present before a notary when the document is signed nor do all the pages in the document need acknowledgment to be accepted for recording at the clerks office!
There's lots of opportunity for fraud anyway!
If the landman changed terms after the land owner signed the lease, it would be the land owner's word against the landman's, right?
P.G.: We would need a LA lawyer to elaborate on the law in regards to this article. I can only say in Georgia when you enter into a contract all signatures are signed in front of a notary and each enumerated page is intialed by all parties having read/agreed to the terms of the agreement with the last page affixed with all parties legal signature signed in front of a notary public. All of the aforementioned safe guards are in place in georgia to prevent exactly what you mentioned in your comment above.
That certainly isn't the way it's done in Louisiana!
The only signed page needed for recording is the last page (or signature page) and all the landman has to do, at a later time, is take the lease to the notary to get it notarized!
There's nothing to keep the landman honest if he chose to monkey around with a word change here or a change there!
I'm sure all landmen are honorable and of course wouldn't intertain such a thought, let alone actually do such a thing!
Hind sight is always 20-20, right?
I wonder how many land owners thought about all of that before they signed?
A land owner who only as a couple of acres and not getting a thousand dollars total bonus wouldn't be inclined to go seek the advice of an attorney at the prices they charge. The landmen know this, I'm sure!
I believe it's past time for there to be similar regulations and disclosures as other professionals have to abide by.
The way it is now, one must be as slick as the landman to be assured they are not being taken advantage of.
What's that saying? "Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, Shame on me! Well with minerals, there isn't any fool me "Twice"! It's a one shot deal that's forever!
It's funny that the government says meat packages must have warnings on them that says you should cook it before you eat it but doesn't require any regulation when comes such an important financial matter!
Maybe they should just do away with all laws and let every man be for himself! May the wittiest survive!
It works for the landmen, right?
PG..let me tell you it will not be YOU financially it will be the lawyer you hired to file the lawsuit and th O & G company attorneys who have an endless amount of money to fight you!....bottomline is... do it right the first time around because there is no second time and if you have to sue to try and have a second chance at the apple you will spend a lot $$$$ trying to correct a very very bad situation!!!...
read, educate and keep notes! we are all in this together, we've got to help one another out!
Like I said, if a land owner got himself into a predicament to where he needed to sue to claim what was rightfully his, he'd be screwed!
Perhaps if there were more rules and regs in place to protect the non knowledgeable public, perhaps there wouldn't be a need for any lawsuits to start with. The advantage is definitely in the O&G companies court!
Imagine how many folks there are that aren't able to afford hiring an attorney who has smaller tracts of land. For the landmen, it would be like taking candy from a baby, right?
KB..that was an excellent instruction for the readers..very detailed and thorough. I whole heartedly agree with you. You have to protect yourself you can't rely on the O & G companies landmen to do it for YOU! It's just not in their job description.
KB said: I would think that professional landmen would welcome such as it's always the bad eggs that make the whole dozen look dirty. Just look at the folks who suddenly turned "landman?" I think we've all learned the difrerence between a landman and a landman.
As exciting as this is, we know that we have a responsibility to do this thing correctly. After all, we want the farm to remain a place where the family can gather for another 80 years and beyond. This site was born out of these desires. Before we started this site, googling "shale' brought up little information. Certainly nothing that was useful as we negotiated a lease. Read More