Three brothers from Indiana are facing up to 20 years in prison after they pleaded guilty Wednesday to orchestrating a $145 million biofuel fraud scheme.
Chad Ducey, 39, Chris Ducey, 48 and Craig Ducey, 44, pleaded guilty to selling biodiesel fuel while falsely claiming the fuel was eligible for federal renewable energy incentives, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
The Ducey brothers operated E-biofuels LLC, from a facility in Middletown, Indiana. They sold over 35 million gallons of the fraudulently marketed biodiesel, earning more than $55 million in gross profits for themselves and their co-conspirators.
“The Ducey brothers admitted that they knew that E-biofuels was fraudulently reselling biodiesel that they obtained from co-conspirators in New Jersey, which had already been used to claim biodiesel incentives,” the DOJ said.
The Ducey brothers pleaded guilty to conspiracy, false claims against the Internal Revenue Service, wire fraud and lying to the Eenvironmental Protection Agecy and the IRS.
Craig Ducey also pleaded guilty to a related $58.9 million securities fraud that victimized over 625 investors and shareholders of Imperial Petroleum, a publicly-traded company and the parent company of E-biofuels.
The brothers face up to 20 years in prison for some of the charges as well as large fines and must pay full restitution to the victims of their crimes, including U.S. taxpayers, truck stop companies, fuel traders and others.
Craig Ducey will also have to pay restitution to the victims of his securities fraud.
The brothers will also have to forfeit $7.5 million in seized funds, jewelry, artwork, cars and homes they purchased with the funds obtained through the scheme.
Two co-conspirators in New Jersey , Joseph Furando and Katirina Pattison, have already pleaded guilty for their involvement in the scheme, along with the New Jersey based companies they operated, CIMA Green and Caravan Trading Company.
“This case should send a strong message that we are watching this market very closely and we won’t allow lawbreakers to pursue profits at the expense of our nation’s interests,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said.