United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Stockton Man Pleads Guilty To Violating Hazardous Material Transportation Law
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Docket #: 2:09-CR-397 JAM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — James Richard Giles, 59, of Stockton, pleaded guilty today to willful, unlawful refilling of a cylinder overdue for its five-year requalification with a hazardous material — compressed natural gas — and then offering it for transportation, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Giles was the owner of Clean Fuels LLC, a business that transported compressed natural gas in metal cylinders to commercial natural gas users. This investigation started from a complaint from an employee that Giles was unlawfully refilling metal cylinders that were beyond their required five-year certification dates with compressed natural gas. Giles used a trailer to transport compressed natural gas that was outfitted with 38 cylinders, each approximately 9 5/8 inches in diameter and 20 and a half feet long. The trailer was towed to a compressed natural gas refilling station, refilled, and then delivered to the customer. All of the 38 cylinders on the trailer had service certification dates that expired months before Giles personally transported the trailer from his business in Stockton to Pacific Gas & Electric’s natural gas refilling station on McDonald Island in San Joaquin County. Giles refilled the cylinders with natural gas and transported the cylinders back to his business in Stockton.
The investigation revealed that Giles engaged in a pattern and practice of repeatedly willfully refilling metal cylinders that were beyond their required five-year certification dates with compressed natural gas on at least six occasions.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the United States Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Giles is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez on September 11, 2012. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.