Money For Nothing #147: $1.1m Rort Of Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme

2 Jun

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The following story appeared in the print version of today’s Sunday Telegraph, pp. 9. For some reason, it was not published online for all to find:

Woman on $1.1 solar rort charges

Brendan Hills
Court reporter

A Sydney woman allegedly rorted the federal government’s renewable energy scheme of at least $1.1 million.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Toongabbie woman Lucie Yeung, 61, allegedly stole 37,600 renewable energy certificates from a solar panel business in Rhodes, in Sydney’s northwest, according to documents tendered to Burwood Local Court. It is one of 147 allegations of rorts of the government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme last year, according to the Energy Regulator’s annual report.

Most of the rorts related to the creation of fraudulent certificates for rooftop solar panels. The business, Inspire Solar, received an allocation of renewable energy certificates (REC) which could be traded as a form of currency under the government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme.

But Yeung allegedly logged in to the government’s REC registration website and transferred 37,600 of Inspire Solar certificates to her own business name.

It is understood Yeung has access to log-in details for the website because she worked in the industry.

Police conservatively estimated the value of each certificate to be $30, court documents said.

The value of the certificates can fluctuate, but police told Burwood Local Court the conservative value of the certificates allegedly stolen by Yeung was $1.128 million. Yeung was arrested in December and charged with dishonestly obtaining money by deception. She has pleaded not guilty. Yeung surrendered possession of the certificates when she was arrested.

Court documents said Yeung allegedly stole the certificates between January and July 2011.

The Sunday Telegraph understands Yeung did some work for Inspire Solar, one of countless companies which emerged to take advantage of the federal government’s solar rebate plan.

Yeung will appear in Burwood Local Court on June 27.

147 cases of rorting the Renewable Energy Target scheme alone — in 1 year — is an epidemic. And one that should surprise no one.

Here are just a few of the countless similar examples from other “green” currency schemes around the world:

Dec 20, 2012 — “Last year, Clean Green Fuels in Maryland was accused of selling 32 million fake biodiesel RIN credits to oil companies and brokers. In June 2012, CEO Rodney Hailey was convicted of wire fraud, money laundering, and of violating the Clean Air Act.

Absolute Fuels in Texas, was sent an EPA Notice of Violation in February this year. On July 19, owner Jeffrey David Gunselman was arrested for having allegedly created on his computer more than $50 million in RIN credits that he then sold. He didn’t even have the facilities to produce biodiesel. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to a laundry list of charges and is contemplating a maximum sentence of $20 million in fines and 1,268 years in the hoosegow.

Another Texas company, Green Diesel, received a Notice of Violation on April 30. The issue: 60 million fake RINs. By then, CEO Philip Rivkin had apparently skedaddled to Europe, out of harm’s way.”

Dec 14, 2012 –- “Five hundred German police and tax inspectors raided offices and residences connected with Deutsche Bank in Berlin, Frankfurt and Dusselforf, Wednesday over allegations of conspiracy involving over €300 million in carbon trading tax fraud.”

May 1, 2011 — “Europe’s biggest polluters have made billions out of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). But a new briefing by Carbon Trade Watch (CTW) says the scheme will ensure industry will not have to cut its emissions until at least 2017.

The first phase of the ETS ran from 2005 to 2007. It made no dent in emissions. But power companies made about 19 billion euros by charging customers for the “cost” of permits they were given for free.

Manufacturers made about 14 billion euros in windfall profits with the same trick.”

And then there are the human rights abuses, of the world’s most needy, by the world’s most greedy, in the pursuit of profit from green “credits”:

Nov 30, 2011 — Carbon Credits in the ‘Valley of Death’

Uncovering the ugly effects of U.N.-backed ‘clean development’ in Honduras.

“Within the last two years more than 1,500 peasant families have lost their homes, schools and communities due to forceful evictions,” all of which have been linked to African Palm expansion efforts in the Aguan valley.

In July, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) released a report on Aguan alleging evictions and armed attacks against local communities by “plantation security guards and private militia groups” allowed to act with impunity. The FIDH paper forced a couple of powerful European investors to back out of the Aguan CDM project and caused the European Parliament to order a fact-finding mission. So far, however, these measures don’t seem to have had any impact on the escalating violence.

Over just two days in August, skirmishes between guards and peasants left 11 people dead. A few days later, two more campesino leaders were assassinated–one of them, Pedro Salgado, was shot down in his home along with his wife. An entire peasant village was burned to the ground.

Sep 22, 2011 — “Across Africa, some of the world’s poorest people have been thrown off land to make way for foreign investors, often uprooting local farmers so that food can be grown on a commercial scale and shipped to richer countries overseas.

But in this case, the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.

The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.

The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.”

“Green” schemes that financialise carbon dioxide, and that create new artificial “currency” in the form of “credits” for renewable energy schemes, are the latest playground for rampant greed and dishonesty.

Designed by bankers, for bankers.

And for the hordes of speculators, carpet-baggers, fraudsters, and other conscience-free crooks naturally attracted to any new profit-making opportunity.

The new class, of green collar criminals.

With 147 allegations of rorting in the renewable energy scheme alone — in just 1 year — clearly, Australia is no different to anywhere else.

And should the government’s planned transition from a carbon dioxide “tax” to a trading scheme come to fruition — I am one of those who remains wholly unconvinced that a Coalition government will revoke the scheme (consider the duplicity of Liberal state premiers Barry O’Farrell & Campbell Newman on the carbon tax) — then the incidents of fraud will only grow exponentially.

As we have seen previously, the government’s own Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) shows that the so-called “regulation” of emissions by the “biggest polluters” is a complete joke — little more than a propaganda exercise, aimed at maintaining “public confidence” in the scheme (see “Government’s RIS Admits Carbon Emissions ‘Audits’ A Propaganda Exercise”).

And the Auditor-General’s report on the OSCAR computer system used by “polluters” to self-report their emissions, is more of the same (see “An OSCAR For The Clean Energy Future”).

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4 Responses to “Money For Nothing #147: $1.1m Rort Of Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme”

  1. geoff June 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    How many authorities were so blinded by money not to see the potential for this? AGW now morphed into climate change. 90 plus % directly connected to money. Latest report. Not now CO2 but CFC is now the culprit. No money for admitting natural causes.

  2. mick June 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    The story about the rorting solar credits does not surprise me one bit. Whilst I support a price on carbon I have never supported the trading scheme as it is and always was going to be a cash cow for criminals of all manner. The example given is one of our own small time criminals in action. My concerns are that the free lunch will attract international crime syndicates and the article is certainly pointing in this direction. So why would anybody be at all surprised?

    The story around Mrs Yeung was interesting. I am willing to bet that the courts give a lenient non custodial sentence. This is the norm and the message which goes out to the worst of Australians will not be what the honest folk in the community expect.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus June 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      “Whilst I support a price on carbon I have never supported the trading scheme…”

      What you are failing to see, Mick, is that “putting a price on carbon” [dioxide] is the act of turning CO2 into a tradable “commodity”, i.e., financialising it. Or to put it another way, making a new currency out of it. Whether the “credits” — digital numbers created in a government computer — are actively “traded” on a new trading market is irrelevant; the base act of “pricing” CO2 is the act of financialising it. Thus, rorts and scams are as certain as night follows day.

      The local (Aussie) example given here, is not even of rorting CO2 “credits”. It is an example of rorting Renewable Energy Certificates — another form of bogus currency, which is based on monetising (financialising) purported acts of implementing renewable energy (solar panels). As with the RIN credits for (alleged) biodiesel production that has been rorted up hill and down dale in the USA, this is just another, different example of how the bankster class is using the Great Global Warming Swindle to create a range of new forms of bogus “currency”.

      If you support “putting a price on carbon”, then whether you realise it or not, you are supporting all of these financial swindles; they are all based on the same bankster “logic”.

  3. Tel June 3, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    I thought the all time classic was the guys who threw a cable over the back fence to power giant searchlights which shone on the solar cells and generated power in the middle of the night. Turning brown power into green power, and tripling the price.

    Eventually someone upstream got curious…

    clearly, Australia is no different to anywhere else.

    Well to be fair, we pretend to take the investigation seriously, which puts us some distance ahead of Europe.

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