Green Diesel offices raided, Absolute Fuels CEO remains in custody
I feel more like a federal crime reporter lately than a biodiesel editor. The former CEO of Absolute Fuels, the second “biodiesel firm” implicated in RIN fraud, was arrested late last week and remains in federal custody. Jeffrey David Gunselman is accused of having sold more than $50 million worth of fake renewable identification number credits—without producing a drop of biodiesel that met specs or that was accepted by a single purchaser—to obligated parties such as Sunoco to satisfy their renewable volume obligations under the renewable fuel standard. He had a detention hearing Tuesday, and Associated Press reports indicate that while the judge set a bond for Gunselman, another judge, Sam Cummings, who signed the criminal complaint last week for Gunselman’s arrest, stayed the bond under the advisement of the prosecutors.
Homeland security special agent Michael Fiveash signed the affidavit in Cummings’ criminal complaint. The affidavit includes details that are almost stranger than fiction. “Gunselman did not have a facility capable of producing biodiesel fuel. Instead, his business operation consisted solely of generating false RINs on his computer and marketing them to brokers and oil companies.”
Wait, there’s more. Johnny Porras, the “biodiesel production manager” for Absolute Fuels, said Gunselman gave him a performance evaluation last summer in which Gunselman commented that Porras had not made a single drop of biodiesel that could be sold. Can you believe that? How would you feel if your boss was defrauding the federal government and oil companies, not to mention stalling the biodiesel market and decimating the small U.S. biodiesel producer, only to dog you in a performance review? Gunselman’s own performance review is coming, and he will get his just deserts.
But the new biodiesel RIN fraud developments don’t stop there. A source confirmed with me that Green Diesel LLC (and parent company Fuel Streamers), the third “biodiesel producer” implicated in the RIN fraud scandal, was raided yesterday in Houston. Green Diesel CEO Philip Rivkin was issued notice of violation (NOV) by the U.S. EPA April 30 for generating more than 60 million fraudulent RINs.
“The CEO moved to Europe unexpectedly in late 2011 and left the U.S. operation high and dry—no money, no management team, no nothing,” says the source. “He never addressed this situation with his employees, but just seemed to move on with his life, leaving a trail of unpaid bills and lawsuits behind him.”
If Rivkin is still in Europe, let’s hope the federal government locates and extradites him back to the U.S. so he can be brought to justice.
Biodiesel Magazine also received an unconfirmed tip that the offices of Bethlehem, Pa.-based grease collector Greenworks Holdings were raided last Wednesday.
And if that wasn’t enough biodiesel RIN news for a week, two more RIN verification programs emerged last week. Frazier Barnes & Associates, in partnership with RIN Attest and Advisory Services, formed the RINtrust program. On the same day, EM Biofuels announced it is launching the RINPlus program.