June 6, 2017
Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty and Is Sentenced for Fraud Scheme Involving the Sale of Propane Gas Refrigerant
On June 6, 2017, Michael Wagner pleaded guilty in the 24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, for attempted theft by means of fraudulent conduct, practices or representations. He received a 6-month suspended sentence and 2 years of probation, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $130,834.25.
The investigation revealed that in 2012 and 2013, Wagner marketed and sold propane gas as a refrigerant under the company names “Superfreeze” and “FrostyCool.” He claimed the product was a drop-in replacement for Freon. The actual product was a highly flammable propane and isobutene mixture; in addition, it was shipped in interstate commerce in refrigerant cylinders that did not have the specialized pressure relief device required by Federal hazardous material regulations.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Louisiana Liquefied Petroleum Gas Commission. The prosecution was handled by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.