The Environmental Protection Agency is showing it’s serious about holding up the integrity of the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system for renewable energy credits. The Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal reports Jeffrey David Gunselman, the founder of Lubbock-based Absolute Fuels, got more than 15 years in prison and has to pay nearly $55 million in restitution and a $175,000 fine for his part in selling the RINs without the biodiesel to back it up.
Gunselman, 30, was sentenced to serve concurrent terms of 188 months on each of the 51 wire fraud counts, 120 months on each of 20 money laundering charges and 24 months each on four counts of making false statements under the federal Clean Air Act…
Gunselman has been held without bail, primarily in the Lubbock County Detention Center, since July. The federal charges arose from Gunselman entering nonexistent biodiesel quantities for sale on an Environmental Protection Agency database and selling the renewable identification numbers, also known as RINs…
The numbers, essentially a batch number that represented about two-thirds of a gallon of biodiesel, are used by oil refiners and shippers to show they are complying with EPA requirements for combining renewable fuels with gas and diesel refined from petroleum.
Ivan Vikin, the head of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Texas, said: “Today’s judicial action demonstrates the consequences for exploiting the Renewable Fuels program in order to steal millions of dollars from customers and taxpayers.”
This follows February’s sentencing of a Maryland man who received 12 1/2 years prison and has been ordered to pay more than $42 million in restitution for selling fake credits to oil companies and commodities brokers.
Previously, the National Biodiesel Board formed a RIN Integrity Task Force that in the words of NBB Chairman Gary Haer, “…will not allow a few bad actors to risk the progress we have made for America’s Advanced Biofuel – biodiesel.”