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Jury convicts Keystone Biofuels in fake biodiesel RINs scheme

Washington — A US federal jury in Pennsylvania convicted Keystone Biofuels and its co-owners on conspiracy charges as part of a scheme to generate $10 million in renewable fuel credits for off-spec fuel, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

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The case was among a wave of federal investigations of biofuel producers accused of generating fake Renewable Identification Numbers or wrongly claiming tax credits. The cases spurred calls for reforms to the Renewable Fuel Standard and may have temporarily distorted RINs supply.

S&P Global Platts assessed D4 biodiesel RINs for 2019 compliance at 32.75 cents/RIN Tuesday, down 2 cents day on day.

Prosecutors said Keystone President Ben Wootton and CEO Race Miner fraudulently claimed RINs on non-qualifying biodiesel, created fake documentation and manipulated samples to send to labs for testing. The incidents happened between August 2009 and September 2013.

Wootton and Miner were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency, six counts of making false statements to the EPA, one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false claim with the IRS, DOJ said.

The company was also found guilty of conspiring to make false statements to the EPA and six counts of making false statements to the EPA, DOJ said.

In 2012, Wootton was one of several industry officials who participated in White House talks urging the Obama administration to stick to its proposed 2013 biodiesel production target of 1.28 billion gallons.

"We have capacity right now," Wootton said at the time.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Pankti Mehta, newsdesk@spglobal.com