Exxon found guilty of defrauding Alabama and must pay the state $3.5 billion

An Alabama jury ordered Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation’s largest oil company, to pay $3.5 billion in damages after it found the company guilty of defrauding the state of royalty payments from natural gas wells situated in state waters. The verdict is the largest ever against a company in a case based solely on accusations of financial harm.

The case was brought last year by the state’s Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, contending that the company had illegally deducted certain expenses from natural gas production royalties paid to the state.

Exxon Mobil said in a statement that it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict. Analysts say they expect the verdict to be reduced on appeal.

Based on a report from The New York Times