Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to $4 million biodiesel tax conspiracy

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that a man from Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to a biodiesel tax conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

David Tielle, according to documents and information provided during court, served as the director of business development at Keystone Biofuels located in Pennsylvania.

Between 2009 and 2012, Tielle participated in a conspiracy to fraudulently claim tax refunds based on the Biodiesel Mix Tax Credit, which is a federal excise tax credit for people or businesses who mix biodiesel with petroleum and use or sell the mixture as fuel.

“Fraud committed against the United States Government, making all of us victims, is always disappointing,” said US attorney David J. Freed.

“It is particularly so when the fraud is connected to a program with the laudable aim of encouraging renewable fuel production.  The defendant in this case nefariously turned a program meant to benefit our community into a scheme to enrich himself and his partners, at our expense.  I commend the tireless work of all of our partners in this case, especially the investigators with IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation.”

Throughout the conspiracy, Tielle purportedly caused inflated fuel amounts to be reported to the IRS in order to fraudulently claim tax refunds on fuel Keystone was not producing. To account for the inflated fuel amounts, Tielle created false books and records and engaged in a series of sham financial transactions to support the false records.

Tielle also caused Keystone to fraudulently claim tax refunds on fuel that did not meet the quality standards needed to qualify for the Biodiesel Mixture Tax Credit and on fuel Keystone had not mixed with petroleum.

“A strong enforcement program is essential to maintaining the integrity of the renewable fuel program,” said US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) special agent in charge Jennifer Lynn.

“Yesterday's guilty plea should send a clear message that EPA and our law enforcement partners are committed to vigorously pursuing these criminal cases.”

The total loss resulting from the conspiracy is estimated to be $4,149,983.41 (€3,699,378.21).