An employee of a New Jersey feedstock collector and processor pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in a scheme to alter and destroy documents following the company’s receipt of a subpoena issued by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Ohio.
William Letona, 49, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King for the Southern District of Ohio, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio and Acting Special Agent in Charge John Gauthier of Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Criminal Enforcement Program in Ohio.
Letona admitted to conspiring with others to obstruct a grand jury investigating the fraudulent generation of EPA renewable fuels credits (RIN credits) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax credits connected to the purported production of renewable fuel. Specifically, documents were falsified and destroyed in order to hide the fact that fuel purchased from a broker by Letona’s employer, Unity Fuels, was sold back to the broker as “Recycled Vegetable Oil Blend.” This maneuver enabled RIN credits and IRS credits to be claimed multiple times on the same material.
“Lies and deceit intended to thwart federal investigations will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “This case demonstrates that the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute those who act dishonestly in responding to federal Grand Jury subpoenas.”
Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison. U.S. District Judge James L. Graham will determine Letona’s sentence following a pre-sentence investigation by the court.
Assistant Attorney General Cruden and Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by law enforcement, including the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as Department of Justice Trial Attorney Adam Cullman, Senior Trial Attorney Jeremy Korzenik and Assistant United States Attorney J. Michael Marous, who represented the United States in this case.