Four Charged with Conspiracy and Illegally Transporting Hazardous Waste
On February 23, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Columbus, Ohio, filed an Information charging Dean Daniels, Brenda Daniels, Richard "Ricky" Smith and William Bradley with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Dean Daniels was also charged with transporting hazardous waste without required safety placards.
This investigation began in August 2011 after the Houston Police Department, Environmental Investigations Unit, identified illegal dumping of hazardous wastes by New Energy Fuels, LLC (NEF), a Texas company which claimed to process animal fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel. The dumping occurred in at least 13 different locations in Houston, Texas, including storm drains and holding ponds. NEF was owned and operated by Dean Daniels. Bradley was a company officer, and Brenda Daniels and Smith were employees. Investigators later discovered that NEF relocated to Logan, Ohio, and began operating under the name Chieftain Biofuels (Chieftain).
The investigation disclosed that NEF fraudulently claimed millions of dollars in credits under EPA's Renewal Identification Numbers (RIN) program. This program required petroleum refiners to produce a certain amount of renewable fuel or purchase RIN credits from renewable fuel producers. The defendants fraudulently claimed millions in biodiesel RIN credits and associated tax credits for the production of fuel that was not biodiesel. The estimated RIN fraud and associated tax fraud committed by NEF and Chieftain is more than $20 million. The investigation further revealed that Dean Daniels caused hazardous waste to be transported by highway without the safety placards required under transportation safety regulations.
We worked this investigation jointly with the Houston Police Department and EPA-CID.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.