It's been nearly three weeks since a Lubbock biodiesel company was raided. The doors of Absolute Fuels were locked on Oct. 17 and the employees were left without jobs.
Federal documents uncovered by KCBD NewsChannel 11 accuse the company and its CEO of fraudulently creating and selling credits for renewable fuels that were never produced. Documents say the fraud produced $40 million.
The government documents say CEO Jeff Gunselman was living the high life, spending money on extravagant items like a multi-million dollar home in South Texas and nearly a dozen vehicles, including a private jet.
Gunselman was the new owner of a $2.65 million home outside of San Antonio. The home has a basketball court, two swimming pools, a massive kitchen and a large guest house out back. The court documents say the home was purchased from a professional athlete and Gunselman handed over $2 million for the down payment.
Court documents show Gunselman owns 11 vehicles, including a Bentley and a Shelby Cobra. The Cobra is currently in the possession of professional basketball player, Tony Parker.
Gunselman had recently purchased an M60 Patton Tank along with an anti-aircraft gun, a Vietnam-era flamethrower and WWII mortars. The cost of the items was $355,000.
Records show Gunselman's wife, Criselda Gunselman, received a bi-weekly paycheck from Absolute Fuels for $3,500. She identified herself as an account executive for the company but in the biography listed on the Junior League of Lubbock's web site, she called herself a "domestic diva."
In statements recorded in court documents, she admitted that she had only visited the Absolute Fuels office once in a year.
While Gunselman's wife only worked at the facility for one year, KCBD NewsChannel 11 has found an Absolute Fuels employee who worked there every day, for more than 9 months. Gary Norman says he was at the company's Littlefield location when it was raided.
He spoke with KCBD on Oct. 27, but asked to conceal his identity because he wanted to keep his job with Absolute Fuels. Since that interview, the government documents in the case have been released and Norman has learned the full extent of the raid. He's come to the realization that Absolute Fuels may never open again.
"I feel like I was a puppet and they were pulling the strings," Norman said.
Norman has been without a job for almost three weeks. He says he still has no paycheck.
"We have lives and they do not stop because of what's going on with the corporate of Absolute Fuels," Norman said.
Although court documents say Absolute Fuels never produced useable biodiesel, Norman says he and his co-workers had no knowledge of the scheme. He says he believed he was creating an actual product and is angry that Gunselman misled him.
"He's reaping the benefits of this and it's not right, him going and selling what he's not producing," Norman said.
The government has frozen all of Absolute Fuels' accounts. Norman and 65 other employees don't know when or if they will ever receive their paychecks.
"I need my wages, everybody else needs their wages and we shouldn't have to go through red tape to get it," Norman said.
Norman says he is most upset, because he feels used. He had a personal message for Gunselman:
"Is it worth it? I don't think it was worth it. Look at what the smaller people are going through. Not worth it to us, not worth it to you. But this is what theft and greed causes," Norman said.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11