HOUSTON -- It was a scam that bilked at least eight companies out of thousands of dollars.
Police say Tomball man pretended to work for Exxon in scam
"It was actually one of the best scams I had ever seen," said Deputy Jeff Lee, Harris County Precinct 4.
Investigator Jeff Lee said Robert Long of Tomball was working at the scam since last summer.
Pretending to be an employee of ExxonMobil, he would email small welding companies across the country, and tell them Exxon needed to find Inconel welding wire for projects in Canada.
"The welding firms would then go hunting for this wire to do this job. When they couldn't find it, they'd report back to him, and tell him they can't find this wire," said Lee.
According to Lee, Long would then redirect the companies to a fictitious supplier which he owned.
"They would tell the company that they have this wire in stock, but because they needed it quickly, they would need the money upfront," said Lee. ďAt the same time these companies were getting pressure from Long, who was still acting as this ExxonMobil individual. He would tell him that Exxon needs it as quick as possible."
Lee said Long would buy wire worth $0.44 a pound, repackage it, and sell it to the companies, for more than $50 a pound.
Deputies caught up with Robert Long on Friday. They searched his house and his car. Inside they found computers, cell phones, weapons, and over $700,000.
Lee said this was the money he had scammed from the companies.
"The scam was run down to the wire each time. All the emails from all the victim companies were written the same way, in the same order, and the companies went along with it, just like everybody else did," said Lee.
Precinct 4 is still investigating, but deputies suspect more companies may have been had.
Robert Long is being held without bond on theft and related charges.