Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Gunselman

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20075
Nos. 13-10409, (5th Cir., 04/04/2016)

The Fifth Circuit upheld an individual's sentence and conviction for wire fraud, money laundering, and CAA violations for selling false renewable fuel credits. The individual represented to EPA and to fuel companies seeking to purchase renewable fuel credits that he manufactured renewable fuels when, in fact, he did not. Between January 2010 and October 2011, he produced no commercially usable renewable fuel, but he sold over 46 million credits for more than $40 million. He was indicted on and ultimately pled guilty to 79 counts, including 51 counts of wire fraud, 24 counts of money laundering, and 4 counts of making a false statement under the CAA. He was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison and ordered to pay $54.9 million in restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. On appeal, the individual claims that his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary. But the record shows that he received the requisite notice and understood the relevant consequences and protections to be waived. The fact that some of the charges were duplicitous, and that this issue was not aired at the plea hearing, does not alter this conclusion, since the record shows that he understood the nature of the charges. The court also rejected his argument that the lower court erroneously calculated the loss amount underlying his sentence and restitution obligation. Nor did the lower court err in enhancing his sentence.