A federal grand jury in Harrisburg, Penn., has indicted a New Braunfels man on a charge of criminal conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment of James Pearson, 37, formerly of Montoursville, Penn., following his arrest Tuesday.

According to a news release, Pearson was formerly employed as a warehouse manager by M-I Swaco, a Houston-based supplier of drilling fluid systems with an office in Watsontown, Penn. M-I Swaco provides services and equipment to natural gas drillers in the Marcellus shale region in Central Pennsylvania.

U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith said the indictment alleges that, between approximately Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 30, 2011, Pearson and other unidentified co-conspirators purchased extra materials from M-I Swaco vendors, billed M-I Swaco for the materials, and then used the materials and M-I Swaco facilities to build products.

Pearson then allegedly leased the products back to M-I Swaco through a straw company known as Black Gold Land Services, which had a mailing address in Williamsport, Penn., the release stated. Black Gold Land Services allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices to M-I Swaco for payment for the leased equipment.

If convicted, Pearson faces a maximum 5-year prison sentence, plus fines and restitution.

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