The federal trial of a Perry Hall business man, accused of selling , began Monday, according to Marcia Murphy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Patch charges against Rodney R. Hailey, the former CEO of Clean Green Fuel, LLC in October 2011. Hailey, then-33, was a resident of the 10000 block of Catron Road. Federal prosecutors charged him with wire fraud, money laundering and a violation of the Clean Air Act.
Hailey could face 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years in prison for money laundering and two years in prison for violating the Clean Air Act, as well as the forfeiture of $9.1 million, including cars, real estate and jewelry.
As of Tuesday afternoon, jury selection and opening arguments had been completed in U.S. District Court of Maryland, before Judge William D. Quarles. Hailey is being represented by a federal public defender and the trial is expected to be completed within six to seven days, Murphy said.
An investigation by several federal and local regulatory and law enforcement agencies found that Clean Green Fuel, LLC—a company based in Nottingham and run by Hailey—sold more than 32 million renewable fuel credits, also known as renewable identification numbers, to brokers and oil companies for about $9.1 million. Federal prosecutors allege Hailey fabricated the identification numbers, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland announced in October.
All oil companies in the U.S. are required to produce a designated amount of renewable fuel or to purchase credits, known as renewable identification numbers. These credits are largely available from producers of renewable fuels.
However, Clean Green Fuel did not produce any renewable fuel, investigators found. Hailey is accused of fraudulently creating RINs on his computer without any actual fuel to back them, according to a news release.
Hailey is accused of using the money from the sale of the fraudulent RINs to purchase several luxury vehicles, including BMWs, a Mercedes-Benz, a Rolls Royce Phantom, a Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati, as well as real estate and jewelry, according to federal documents.
Hailey told U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigators that his business manufactured the fuel from waste vegetable oil collected from 2,700 restaurants. His facilities, however, did not have the capacity to process the fuel, the news release stated.
has reported on the case's impact on EPA regulations and other green fuel companies.
Another biodiesel company, based in Texas, Absolute Fuels LLC, is facing similar accusations, according to the article.
Both cases have prompted responses from biofuel companies across the country, trade associations and members of Congress.
This spring, members of the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the Biobased Industry Center began calling for greater consistency and transparency related to renewable fuel credits.
Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, and Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat—ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee—have also called for reform in the EPA's procedures, the article stated.
What can federal regulators do to prevent fraud related to renewable energy credits? Is it still a viable program? Tell us in the comments.