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Environmental Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in environmental programs and policies. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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November 16, 2018

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas Inc. has pleaded guilty for conspiring to defraud the United States and violate the Clean Air Act in connection with its importation of construction equipment from Korea with engines that failed to meet U.S. emissions standards.  Hyundai will pay a $1.95 million fine.  In reports to the EPA, Hyundai intentionally understated the number of noncompliant engines it imported.  DOJ

October 11, 2018

Tesla Energy Solutions (fka Solar City) and its accounting firm, Novogradac & Company LLP, have agreed to pay a combined $13 million to settle claims that it defrauded the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) in seeking to receive a higher tax credit for commercial solar projects built in the state. According to Oregon DOJ's press release, SolarCity submitted fraudulent applications to ODOE certifying that its solar projects had cost it $36.7 million. Novogradac then submitted fraudulent reports certifying the same, which allowed SolarCity to receive more than $10 million in tax credits, and which it then used to fund 14 other solar projects, including 6 with the Oregon University System. However, subsequent investigation revealed that the actual cost had been inflated by more than 100%. OR AG

October 5, 2018

Following a court trial, a federal court in Utah has ordered that RaPower-3 LLC and International Automated Systems, Inc. stop all promotion and marketing and disgorge $50 million collected in an abusive tax scheme involving false tax deductions and solar energy credits.  The companies and their principals marketed what they claimed was technology that could be used in the production of solar energy and which, they further claimed, entitled the purchasers to take certain tax deductions and solar energy tax credits.  In fact, however, the technology was phony and defendants knew that its purchasers would not be entitled to the tax deductions and credits.  DOJ

October 4, 2018

David Tielle of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to tax fraud for his role in the submission of over $4 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds under the Biodiesel Mixture Tax Credit by Keystone Biofuels Inc.  Tielle inflated fuel amounts reported to the IRS, claiming tax refunds on fuel Keystone was not producing. To account for the inflated fuel amounts, Tielle created false books and records and engaged in a series of sham financial transactions. USAO MDPA; DOJ.

September 27, 2018

NGL Crude Logistics LLC, formerly known as Gavilon, Inc., has agreed to pay a $25 million civil penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve allegations of RIN fraud through violations of the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. In 2011, NGL bought millions of gallons of biodiesel, which came with about 36 million RINS—or Renewable Identification Numbers, which are generated when certain renewable fuels are produced, and which are used for tracking purposes. According to the complaint, NGL sold off most of the original RINs, then sold the biodiesel as unprocessed feedstock to another company, Western Dubuque. After Western Dubuque reprocessed the biodiesel, it sold the fuel back to NGL with another set of RINs, which NGL then sold off again. The fraud was eventually revealed through a tip from other program participants. DOJ

Executives of Company with Ties to Polygamous Church Indicted for Over $500 Million in False Claims for Renewable Fuel Tax Credits

Posted  08/29/18
Tax Fraud
On Friday, August 24th, DOJ announced that three individuals had been indicted by a grand jury in Utah for filing false claims for over $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits on behalf of Washakie Renewable Energy. Washakie is associated with the Kingston Group, a Utah-based polygamous church with fundamentalist Mormon beliefs, that has previously paid $3 million to the EPA for falsely claiming to have produced renewable fuel. According...

August 24, 2018

Executives of Utah-based biodiesel company Washakie Renewable Energy, and another individual associated with NOIL Energy Group in California, were indicted for falsely claiming over $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits. The individuals allegedly created false production records and other paperwork to make it appear that fuel transactions that qualified for the tax credit were occurring.  The indictment also included allegations of money laundering.  DOJ

July 24, 2018

Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced guilty pleas by Albany Environmental Consultants, LLC ("AEC"), its owner Ronda Dolan, and a project manager Brian McLaren for defrauding customers in NY by posing as a licensed asbestos testing company. AEC's license to test for asbestos had expired in 2014 but it used the name of another company to charge customers $40,000 overall for asbestos testing services just to have the work later redone by a licensed testing company. NY AG

July 6, 2018

North American Power Group Limited, along with its owner Michael Ruffatto, have agreed to pay $14.4 million as a result of allegations that they submitted false claims under an agreement with the DOE to carry out data collection and carbon sequestration projects at a Wyoming energy site.  Rather than seek reimbursement for work done, as they claimed, the defendants had submitted invoices reflecting personal expenses like travel, jewelry, and car payments.  Ruffatto was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the scheme.  DOJ; USAO WDPA
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