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Stockton Man Fined $100,000 for Unlawful Refilling and Transporting of Compressed Natural Gas Cylinders

James Richard Giles, a former owner of Clean Fuels LLC, in Stockton, CA, was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Sacramento, CA, to serve 5 years of probation and ordered to pay $100,000 in fines for the willful and unlawful refilling of a compressed natural gas cylinder that was overdue for its 5-year requalification and then offering it for transportation.

The highly pressurized cylinders store various kinds of gases, some of which can be extremely hazardous. OIG began investigating the case following a complaint from a former employee of Clean Fuels—a company that transported compressed natural gas—who alleged that Giles was refilling metal cylinders with compressed natural gas that were well beyond their required 5-year requalification dates. Our investigation determined that Giles transported 38 refilled cylinders of compressed natural gas—all of which had requalification dates that had expired—from Stockton to Pacific Gas and Electric’s natural gas refilling station in San Joaquin, CA.

OIG conducted this investigation with significant assistance from the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.