2 biodiesel RIN fraud cases, 2 guilty pleas
Two defendants in two separate biodiesel RIN fraud cases pleaded guilty in federal court recently. Nathan Stoliar, 64, of Australia, pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas July 22 to five felonies for his role in multiple schemes, worth in excess of $41 million, to generate fraudulent biodiesel credits and to export biodiesel without providing biodiesel credits to the U.S. as required by law, according to the Justice Department.
Stoliar and another defendant had been charged in January in a 57-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements under the Clean Air Act, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Following his indictment, Stoliar was located in Poland and returned in early February to the U.S. to surrender for arrest. Stoliar pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, two counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements under the Clean Air Act. Stoliar is required by the plea to forfeit $4 million and pay $1 million in restitution. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering and wire fraud, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements under the Clean Air Act.
“Stoliar and his co-conspirator perpetrated a massive fraud against a renewable fuels program created to protect our nation’s energy security and independence,” said Sam Hirsch, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Justice Department will continue to pursue fraudsters at home and abroad and protect the integrity of federal programs as it protects the environment.”
“By rooting out fraud, EPA is committed to achieving the environmental goals that Congress envisioned when it created the renewable fuel standard,” said Cynthia Giles, the U.S. EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. “This case, like other recent ones, supports legitimate businesses and makes clear to potential violators that EPA and its partners will fight to protect the program’s integrity.”
“With this guilty plea, the defendant admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government, specifically the EPA, and that he personally gained more than $7 million from the scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden for the District of Nevada. “These types of schemes are complex and require an enormous expenditure of resources to investigate and prosecute. Because of the tremendous work of the investigators and prosecutors on this case, we were also able to seize and forfeit from the defendant millions of dollars from bank accounts, as well as real property in Nevada and California, jewelry and other assets.”
For the back story on Stoliar’s indictment, click here.
In a more infamous case of biodiesel RIN fraud, Cima Green’s former Chief Operating Officer Katirina Tracy (aka Katirina Pattison), indicted last fall in the e-Biofuels scandal, entered a plea agreement admitting guilt to conspiring with others to commit fraud against the government, according to court papers obtained by Biodiesel Magazine. She faces up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
The Record staff writer Hugh R. Morley wrote a compelling article Aug. 2 filled with the sordid particulars of the case, including disturbing details about her co-defendant Joseph Furando.