Renton, Washington Man Sentenced to 105 Months in Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
Spokane, WA - Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Richard Estes, age 77, of Renton, Washington, was sentenced, after having previously pled guilty on December 16, 2015, to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Estes to a term of imprisonment of 105 months, to be followed by a three-year term of court supervision after he is released from Federal prison. In addition, Estes was ordered to pay $4,360,724.50 in restitution to the taxpayers of the United States.
According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, Estes was a member of a conspiracy involving Gen-X Energy Group, Inc. (Gen-X), a renewable energy company formerly located in Pasco and Moses Lake, Washington. Between March of 2013 and May of 2014, Estes and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of schemes to (1) falsely claim the production of marketable renewable energy credits; and (2) file false claims for refunds of excise credits with the IRS. Throughout this period, much of the renewable fuel claimed to be produced at the Gen-X facilities was either not produced or re-processed multiple times. In total, over $39,000,000 of proceeds of the scheme was laundered through accounts owned or controlled by Estes.
Michael C. Ormsby stated, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is, and will continue to be, committed to prosecuting aggressively and seeking appropriate punishment for white collar crimes. I commend the tenacious and thorough efforts of the IRS-Criminal investigations and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division."
"This is a classic case of an individual who allowed his own unfettered greed to guide his duplicitous actions," stated Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon of IRS Criminal Investigation. "When that greed turns into fraud to the degree perpetrated by Richard Estes and his co-conspirators, IRS CI stands ready with our law enforcement partners to serve as the guardians of economic equity and social justice."
This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Environmental Protection Agency. The case was prosecuted by Scott T. Jones, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington; Karla G. Perrin, EPA Regional Criminal Counsel and Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington; and Thomas Franzinger, Trial Attorney, Environmental Crimes Section, United States Department of Justice.