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Press Release

Six Men Arrested, Charged With Conspiracy To Steal And Re-Sell Restaurant Cooking Oil

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Guodeng Chen, Didi Huang, Fangfang Yan, all of Pittsford, NY, Ruimao Yang, Yan Han, and Wen Xiao Zhang, all of New York, NY, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy and the transportation and sale of stolen goods in interstate commerce. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendants conspired to commit a series of thefts of used cooking oil, which can be refined into biodiesel fuel and re-sold for $4.00 to $5.00 per gallon, from numerous restaurants within and around Monroe County. In April 2022, Monroe Country Sheriffs’ Deputies encountered several of the defendants, in the middle of the night, pumping used cooking oil out of privately-owned holding tanks and into box trucks that contained a large storage tank.  Deputies followed the box trucks to warehouses located at 300 and 350 Commerce Drive in Rochester, where they observed the defendants pumping the oil out of the trucks and into the warehouse. During the execution of search warrants at 300 and 350 Commerce Drive, deputies discovered 12,461 gallons of unrefined oil, worth over $73,000. A review of documents and records found during the search warrants revealed that the defendants sold and shipped the stolen oil to a refinery located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Investigators traced two specific shipments totaling of 95,320 gallons of oil from the defendants’ warehouse in Rochester to the refinery in Erie, PA.   The defendants were paid $60,051 for these two shipments.   

The defendants made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen and were released on conditions. 

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter and Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.       

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Barbara Burns


Updated April 21, 2023