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California man gets 4 years in prison over local energy credit scam

UPDATED: Fri., April 20, 2018

The shadow of The Spokesman-Review Tower is cast across the Thomas S. Foley United States Federal Courthouse, Feb. 9, 2011 in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The shadow of The Spokesman-Review Tower is cast across the Thomas S. Foley United States Federal Courthouse, Feb. 9, 2011 in downtown Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A California man was sentenced to more than four years in prison Friday after he previously pleaded guilty to defrauding millions of dollars from the government through the sale of false energy credits.

U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza on Friday sentenced Jin Chul “Jacob” Cha, 41, of Tustin, Calif., to 51 months in prison. In January, Cha pleaded guilty as part of a conspiracy to sell renewable fuel credits through Gen-X Energy Group, Inc., located in Pasco and Moses Lake.

Cha and his co-conspirators at Gen-X Energy fa;sely claimed the production of more than 9.4 million renewable energy credits for which they sold for more than $6 million. But much of the renewable fuel was either not produced or re-processed several times, Assistant U.S. Attorney George Jacobs wrote in a news release.

“Today Mr. Cha and the Gen-X Energy Group are being held accountable for their massive and complex $65 million fraud,” said Darrell Waldon, Special Agent in Charge of IRS criminal probe.

Cha previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and commit wire fraud.

Cha “defrauded taxpayers and biofuels companies out of millions of dollars,” said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This case shows that EPA and its law enforcement partners will prosecute those who seek to profit by breaking the law.”

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