It looks like there is even more trouble for a Lubbock business accused of faking federal renewable energy credits. KCBD NewsChannel 11 has obtained a copy of the official EPA notice sent to Absolute Fuels and its CEO Jeffrey Gunselman.
A search of federal records shows neither Gunselman nor his company have been charged with a crime, but the EPA has officially put the company on notice of violations which could result in severe financial penalties.
In October, federal agents carried out raids against Absolute Fuels Lubbock office in the 2500 block of 74th, and a company facility near Littlefield.
Also back in October, a search of federal records by KCBD NewsChannel 11 showed what the company was suspected of doing.
Some of those same allegations are repeated in a letter from the EPA to Absolute Fuels, dated February 2nd. It says in part that federal law allows the EPA "... to assess a civil penalty of up to $37,500 for every day for each violation plus the economic benefit or savings resulting from each violation." The letter says violations went on from August 31, 2010 through October 11, 2011, which is a period of more than 400 days.
That same letter goes on to say, "We are offering you an opportunity to confer with us about the violations alleged in this NOV [Notice Of Violation]." Gunselman and the company are invited to offer information about any steps taken to correct violation and to prevent future violations.
Recent changes to federal law mandate companies to use a certain amount of renewable fuels. Those that cannot do so, can instead purchase RIN's or Renewable Identification Numbers from companies that make renewable fuels or companies that have leftover credits.
Absolute Fuels is accused of generating RIN's with no actual renewable fuels to back them up. Court records say the company tried but failed to make renewable fuels that meet proper standards. But even without the fuel, the company sold $40 million of credits.
The allegations of fake RIN's were made in court records last year and repeated in the recent letter.
Federal officials have seized both company property and Gunselman's personal property such as 11 vehicles including a 2011 Bentley, and a Shelby Cobra 427. Also seized is a home in Boerne, Texas worth $2.65 million and a private jet worth $2.5 million.
Company employees have complained that they are still owed their last paychecks. They were ordered to leave during the federal raid and the business has been shut down ever since.
Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11