Sunday, February 14, 2021

Court Denies Convicted Defendant's Post-Trial Motion in Biofuel Tax Scam (2/15/21)

In United States v. Derman (D. Utah No. 2:18-cr-00365-JNP-BCW Doc. 1183 2/10/21), TN conversion here and pdf here, the district court in a 54-page opinion denied Derman’s post-trial motions regarding his conviction "of ten counts of various offenses arising out of his participation in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government of  renewable tax credits and launder the proceeds of the fraud.”  Although a tax related crime, Derman was not convicted of a tax crime but for his conduct relating to tax crimes that violated other criminal provisions (most notably mail fraud and money laundering (Concealment and Expenditure Money Laundering)).

The Court (i) found the evidence at trial (over 7 weeks) sufficient to support the crimes of conviction and that the convictions were not against the weight of the evidence, (ii) found the alleged newly discovered evidence of little relevance, and (iii) denied the Derman’s request for additional discovery but did order disclosure of certain ex parte filings submitted by the Government.

Readers interested in this proceeding might be interested in this detailed article:  Vince Beiser, The Lion, the Polygamist, and the Biofuel Scam (Wired 2/2/21), here.

As the opinion and the article report, there were various intrigues in the facts behind this factually complex case.

The interesting thing is how relatively easily this fraud was perpetrated.  The article concludes as follows:

“It was tax fraud on an almost unimaginable scale,” says Jacob’s own lawyer, Marc Agnifilo. “It’s really a simple fraud. The government is writing these million-dollar checks, $5 million checks, $20 million checks, just because you gave them some paperwork that shows that maybe you made biodiesel.”

Here’s hoping that the federal government has, then, learned something from the saga of the Lion and the Numbered Man. Because just one month before Dermen’s trial got underway, former president Donald Trump signed a five-year extension of the $1-per-gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit program.

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