Michigan's attorney general filed felony racketeering and fraud claims against Chesapeake Energy on Thursday, alleging the company canceled hundreds of private land leases under false pretenses following a short-lived oil and gas boom in the state in 2010.
The charges, filed in Michigan state court in Cheboygan, allege Chesapeake, through its leasing agents, victimized private landowners in northern Michigan by falsely claiming mortgages on their properties were a legitimate basis for the lease cancellations. Landowners were previously told the mortgages were not a problem, the state alleged.
"I will defend and protect the taxpayers of Michigan in the face of fraudulent business practices," Michigan Attorney General Bill Shuette said in a press release. "Scamming hardworking Michigan citizens is not how we do business in this state."