Four West Texas Men Accused of Mail Fraud and Conspiracy

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A federal investigation has put four Texas men in the hot seat and even worse, investigators say they used the U.S. Postal Service to do it.

They're accused of stealing millions over a two year period from a local company.

Investigators are now trying to figure out what they spent the cash on.

In a seven page indictment, the feds accuse the four men of stealing about $2.6 million by duping local companies in the oil and gas industry.

The FBI first started investigation into Gary Gardenhire, Jerrod Gardenhire, Fred Foster and Cody Eckel in December.

U.S. Marshal's arrested Gary Gardenhire on Friday and the other three men were arrested Monday morning at the courthouse after they turned themselves in.

Later that day, the four men appeared in court and were charged with mail fraud and conspiracy.

During the court appearance, a federal judge released all of the men, except Foster, on a $10,000 bond each.

Foster will appear before the judge again Wednesday to see if he'll be released on bond.

The FBI thinks the men stole and sold inventory from a local company Gary Gardenhire was part owner of called The Hose Connection.

According to the indictment, the feds think the Gardenhire brothers cooked up the scheme, and then gave the other two men a three percent kickback for providing invoices from other oil and gas companies so they'd get paid.

The FBI told NewsWest 9 they're still investigating how the men used the money, but they think it was mostly used for luxury items and some of it may have helped fund or buy items for the Penwell Knights Raceway.

A family member of the Gardenhires called earlier to say she did not believe the allegations, and a lawyer for Gardenhire told NewsWest 9 he wanted everyone to remember his client is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A jury trial is set for early September.