Keystone Biofuels and co-owners found guilty of RIN fraud

April 24, 2019 |

In Pennsylvania, following a 14-day jury trial in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Ben T. Wootton, of Enola, Pennsylvania, and Race A. Miner, of Buena Vista, Colorado, were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), six counts of making false statements to the EPA, one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false claim with the IRS, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Freed for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine, and IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Kelly Jackson. The jury also found the corporation, Keystone Biofuels Inc. (Keystone), guilty of conspiring to make false statements to the EPA and six counts of making false statements to the EPA.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Wootton and Miner co-owned and operated Keystone, originally in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania, and later in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Keystone purported to be a producer and seller of biodiesel, a type of renewable fuel. From August 2009 through September 2013, Wootton and Miner participated in a conspiracy to fraudulently generate renewable fuel credits, identified by renewable identification numbers (RINs) on Keystone fuel and, through January 2012, to fraudulently claim tax refunds based on the Biodiesel Mixture Tax Credit, a federal excise tax credit for persons or businesses who mix biodiesel with petroleum and use or sell the mixture as a fuel.

Wootton and Miner face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on each conspiracy count, each false statement to the EPA count, and three years in prison on the count of filing a false tax claim with the IRS, as well as periods of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

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