BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland man faces trial in a $9.1 million fraud case that is shedding light on problems in a renewable energy credits program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Federal prosecutors accuse Rodney Hailey of Perry Hall of selling renewable fuel credits even though his company, Clean Green Fuel LLC, did not produce any renewable fuel. Instead, prosecutors say he pocketed the money and bought Ferraris and other luxury cars, as well as tractor-trailers, homes, jewelry and computers.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin in the case Monday in U.S. District Court. If Hailey is convicted, prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the $9.1 million, including the cars, homes and other items, of which nearly $3 million has been recovered, said Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Joseph Evans, a federal public defender representing Hailey, declined comment.
The case is one of several nationwide, including similar fraud cases in Texas and Alabama, that have led to calls in Congress for a review of the program. It has also prompted a lawsuit against the EPA by those defrauded by the Maryland company because the federal agency is not recognizing the credits they thought were genuine.
Companies that market petroleum in the United States are being required to produce renewable fuels such as biodiesel made from vegetable oils or purchase credits, known as renewable identification numbers, or RINs, from producers of those fuels to satisfy the requirement designed to increase clean energy.
In Congress, Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee say the EPA’s management of the situation appears to have made a bad situation worse, punishing innocent participants who were defrauded.
“As a result, the risk of unknowingly buying problematic RINs is great and so the renewable fuels marketplace is in turmoil,” Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said in a letter earlier this year to an EPA official about problems in the program.
The EPA says program regulations make it clear that buyers must make sure they use valid credits, but changes are being made to reduce the potential for fraud. Those changes include requiring that renewable fuel producers provide independent third-party verification that they have the equipment to produce the fuel they say they will produce. Auditors also must review records and reports submitted by renewable fuel producers to the EPA, the EPA said in a statement.
A consortium responsible for assuring the validity of the credits is also being discussed by industry stakeholders, the EPA said.
The EPA’s efforts were met with skepticism by George Parsells, an attorney representing OceanConnect, one of the companies suing the EPA.
“Nothing’s been solved, in fact, there’s been a lot of attention on Capitol Hill and congressmen and senators all making hay with the EPA over the RIN program,” Parsells said.
More Related Stories
- Jodia Arias: I deserve a second chance
- Oklahoma residents return home to pick up the pieces
- Florida man with connection to Tsarnaev killed by FBI
- FBI identifies 5 Benghazi suspects
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
- Okla. mother's tearful reunion with her 8-year-old son
- New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination
- Study: Salt Lake City is gay parenting capital of the U.S.
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Watch: Family emerges from storm shelter after tornado
- Must-see morning clip: Barackalypse Now
- Okla. tornado survivor reunited with dog trapped in rubble live on camera
- Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
- Oklahoma death count confirmed at 24, 9 children
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11