The owner of several Texas-based biofuel companies was sentenced on Monday to more than 10 years in prison for generating and selling fraudulent biodiesel credits in the federal renewable fuel programme.
The US Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division announced that Philip Joseph Rivkin, also known as Felipe Poitan Arriaga, was sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Also, he is required to pay over USD 87 million (EUR 79m) in restitution and USD 51 million in forfeiture. He pleaded guilty in June 2015 for committing one count of mail fraud and one count of making a false statement under the Clean Air Act.
A collaborative investigation conducted by several entities found that Rivkin made fraudulent claims about biodiesel production at a Houston plant. He claimed that one of his firms, namely Green Diesel LLC, had been producing millions of gallons of biodiesel, while in reality no biodiesel was ever made at that company’s facility. Thanks to this fraud, Rivkin generated and sold over 60 million renewable identification numbers (RINs), thus recording millions of dollars in sales.
“This sentence should send a strong message that those committing fraud in the bio-diesel program will be vigorously prosecuted and sent to prison,” said assistant attorney general John Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.