Prison time for California man involved in biodiesel scam

A $65 million biodiesel scam has landed a California man in prison.

The U.S. Justice Department reports that Jin Chul “Jacob” Cha, 41, of Tustin was sentenced Friday to 51 months in prison for his role in the three-year-long Gen-X Energy Group scam.

Cha pled guilty in January to conspiracy to defraud the government and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

“The defendant, Mr. Cha, has been sentenced to spend years in prison for his role in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud the renewable fuels program,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“I commend the tenacious and thorough efforts of investigators from IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Harrington.

According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, Cha 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 October 2012 and March 2015, Cha and his co-conspirators falsely claimed the production of more than 9,400,000 marketable renewable energy credits, which they then sold for more than $6,000,000, and filed false claims with the IRS for $2,506,094 in excise credit refunds.  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.