It’s not easy being green–especially when your ‘green’ project doesn’t exist

ID-10049198The Texas State Securities Commission recently announced the sentencing of three defendants involved in a fraud based on a phantom biodiesel plant in Hunt County, Texas.

Casey Ray Vanloon, Ricky Ray Knowles, and John David Riddle were sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication on Oct. 7 in the 380th State District Court in Collin County. They were ordered to pay $580,292 restitution to the victims, most of whom were senior citizens.

The three men pleaded guilty to engaging in organized criminal activity after selling interests in a joint venture to be managed by Greenway Energy Partners LLC, which would build a biodiesel plant. Investors were promised returns of 33 percent for five years, but no plant was built. The joint venture raised more than $800,000 from investors.

Vanloon, Knowles and Riddle cooperated with the investigation into Kenneth Paul Lawrence of Allen, Texas. In July, Lawrence was sentenced to five years in prison on a money laundering charge and 10 years probation on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity. Lawrence, the proposed plant operator, was ordered to repay investors the $265,000 he received in the scheme.

Ronnie Gene Nichols Jr. was sentenced in 2011 to eight years in state prison on a charge of felony theft.