Australian man pleads guilty to biofuels fraud scheme

LAS VEGAS -- An Australian pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas Tuesday to five felonies connected with a biofuels fraud scheme worth more than $41 million, the Justice Department reported.

Nathan Stoliar, 64, and another defendant were charged in January in a 57-count indictment alleging conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements under the Clean Air Act, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Located in Poland, Stoliar returned in early February to the United States to surrender for arrest. 

He 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. Stoliar is required by the plea to forfeit $4 million and pay $1 million in restitution. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering and wire fraud, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and two years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements under the Clean Air Act.

Stoliar is expected to be sentenced Oct. 30.

"Stoliar and his co-conspirator perpetrated a massive fraud against a renewable fuels program created to protect our nation's energy security and independence," said Sam Hirsch, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The Justice Department will continue to pursue fraudsters at home and abroad and protect the integrity of federal programs as it protects the environment."

The investigation included involvement from the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, with assistance from the United States Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and Department of Homeland Security.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Wayne Hettenbach of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Crane Pomerantz and Daniel Hollingsworth of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada, and Assistant Deputy Chief Darrin McCullough of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

 


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