Two Men Sentenced and Another Pleads Guilty in Las Vegas for International Biofuels Fraud Scheme
James Jariv, 64, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced in federal court in Las Vegas today to ten years in prison for his role in illegal schemes to generate fraudulent biodiesel credits and to export biodiesel without providing biodiesel credits to the United States. Jariv was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $6,345,830.91 and to forfeit between $4 to $6 million in cash and other assets.
Jariv was the second defendant to be sentenced for the scheme. Nathan Stoliar, 64, of Australia, was sentenced to two years in prison in April for his role in the conspiracy and ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution and to forfeit of $4 million in cash. In addition, in court papers unsealed last week, Alex Jariv, 28, also of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in the scheme and his sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 18, 2015.
James Jariv and Stoliar both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, two counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements under the Clean Air Act. Alex Jariv pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, make false statements and launder monetary instruments.
“This was an egregious scheme to defraud fuel suppliers, the United States, and a program designed to strengthen our nation’s petroleum independence and improve our air quality” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will not tolerate such fraud and will vigorously prosecute those who put their own enrichment above our nation’s interests.”
“Mr. Jariv and his co-defendant defrauded the United States government of millions of dollars through this biodiesel fraud scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden for the District of Nevada. “They used a Las Vegas company and Las Vegas bank accounts to facilitate the scheme. Fortunately, in addition to convicting both defendants, we were able to seize and forfeit millions of dollars from numerous bank accounts, as well as real property in Nevada and California, jewelry and other assets.”
“EPA's criminal enforcement program goes after the most egregious offenders,” said Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at EPA. “For his role in undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard, developed to reduce the nation’s impact on climate change and lessen our dependence on foreign oil, Mr. Jariv is going to prison. Let today’s sentence send a clear message to others who engage in biofuel fraud that EPA takes seriously its responsibility to bring violators of this important program to justice.”
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 created a number of federally-funded programs that provided monetary incentives for the production and use of renewable fuels such as biodiesel in the United States. Biodiesel producers and importers can generate and attach credits known as renewable identification numbers (RINs) to the gallons of biodiesel they produce or import. Because certain companies (such as companies that sell transportation fuel in the United States) need RINs to comply with regulatory obligations, RINs have significant market value. They are routinely bought and sold in the marketplace. In addition, to ensure that RINs are generated for renewable fuel used only in the United States and in order to create an incentive for biodiesel in the United States to be used here, anyone who exports biodiesel is required to obtain these valuable RINs for all exported gallons and provide the RINs to EPA.
Beginning around September of 2009, James Jariv and Stoliar operated and controlled a company -- City Farm Biofuel in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- that represented itself as a producer of biodiesel from “feedstocks” such as animal fat and vegetable oils. James Jariv and Stoliar also formed a company called Canada Feedstock Supply – that represented itself as City Farm’s supplier of feedstocks necessary to produce biodiesel. James Jariv operated and controlled a company based in Las Vegas called Global E Marketing (GEM).
Alex Jariv worked for and on behalf of these companies. Using these three and other closely-held companies, the three defendants claimed to produce biodiesel at the City Farm facility and to import and sell biodiesel to GEM and then generated and sold RINs based upon this claimed production, sale and importation. In reality, no biodiesel produced at City Farm was ever imported and sold to GEM as claimed. The Jarivs and Stoliar used GEM to claim to blend the biodiesel with petroleum diesel, allowing them to sell the RINs separately from any actual biodiesel. Using this scheme, the three men falsely claimed to import, purchase and blend more than 4.2 million gallons of biodiesel. They then sold the RINs, and fraudulently generated more than $7 million.
James Jariv and Stoliar also purchased and resold RIN-less B-99 biodiesel as B-100 biodiesel, which allowed them to charge substantially more for this product than if it has been accurately labeled. They exported significant amounts of the RIN-less B-99 they bought in the United States to Canada and Australia. They then sold the biodiesel in those countries and conspired to not acquire and provide RINs to the United States for these exports as they were required to do by law. In doing so, James Jariv and Stoliar failed to give to the United States RINs worth in excess of $34 million, keeping this money for themselves instead.
Finally, James and Alex Jariv and Stoliar conspired to launder the proceeds of their crimes, utilizing foreign banking institutions and complex financial transactions to promote their illegal schemes and distribute the proceeds of their crimes. Accounts were utilized in Canada, Nevada and Australia and transactions between the defendants’ closely-held companies were described as other legitimate transactions involving biodiesel, when in reality they were not.
The investigation into the Jarivs’ and Stoliar’s activities was the result of collaborative work by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, with assistance from the United States Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Department of Homeland Security and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The case was prosecuted by Wayne D. Hettenbach of the Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Crane M. Pomerantz and Daniel D. Hollingsworth of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada and Assistant Deputy Chief Darrin L. McCullough of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, with the assistance of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.