The Perry Hall man who stood accused of selling phony biofuel credits to commodities brokers and oil companies was convicted yesterday of wire fraud and money laundering.
Rodney R. Hailley, 33, founded Clean Green Fuel to sell biofuel credits to companies that needed to meet quotas set by the Environmental Protection Agency. And to lower his overhead he decided not to actually produce any fuel. A really brilliant plan, except for it being fraudulent.
After EPA inspectors visited his office on the tip that his biofuel credits were fake, and were shown a “largely empty warehouse” and were told that he had just sold all of his equipment but couldn’t remember to whom, it looks like they just sat on the information. In fact it wasn’t until Hailley outraged a neighbor by parking some of his “more than 20 luxury cars and trucks” in front of his house that suspicions were sufficiently raised to launch a criminal investigation.
At Hailley’s trial, the jury took less than an hour and a half to return a string of guilty verdicts. Apparently the witnessless defense strategy of “Come on, Man. Everyone knew they were phony. I was being soooo obvious. And those quotas are a joke, you can’t live up to them” (I’m paraphrasing) didn’t resonate with jurors.
If I were crafting Hailley’s defense, I might rather argue something along the lines of “What could be greener and more efficient than producing nothing at all? The defense rests!” And, well, considering how it went for him, he couldn’t have done any worse.
Hailley’s sentencing is scheduled for October 11, and he could face some serious jail time: “up to 20 years in prison on each of eight counts of wire fraud, 10 years for each of 32 money-laundering counts and two years each for the two counts of violating the Clean Air Act.” That’s a maximum possible sentence of 484 years!
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