Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Guilty plea entered in fraudulent renewable-fuel credit scheme

Phillip Joseph Rivkin, who was part of a scheme to defraud the EPA with claims of producing millions of gallons of biodiesel fuel, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of a Clean Air Act false statement and mail fraud.

Rivkin, also known as Felipe Poitan Arriaga, could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and is responsible for $51 million in restitution to help reimburse victims.

“These crimes are a serious threat to an important program that helps combat climate change,” Cynthia Giles, EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, said. “For undermining the Renewable Fuels Standard, Rivkin will pay substantial fines and restitution, and he also faces significant prison time."

Rivkin devised a scheme between July 2010 and July 2011 to falsely create and sell renewable-fuel credits, or renewable identification numbers (RINs), which earned more than $29 million from oil companies and brokers. The fraud was unearthed in 2012, when the EPA issued Rivkin’s company, Green Diesel, LLC, a Notice of Violation. Rivkin was arrested on June 18, 2014, after being expelled from Guatemala, where he had attained citizenship fraudulently.

“Companies and individual managers should get the message that there are serious consequences for breaking the rules and undermining the integrity of this program,” Giles said.

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