EPA fraudster's biofuel booty hits the auction block

The luxury auction house Christie's will begin auctioning off $15 million of ill-gotten artwork obtained from renewable fuel fraudsters, after they were caught selling fake credits used to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's biofuel program to major oil companies and refiners.

The fraud scandal unfolded in the early part of the decade and is widely considered a black mark on the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard program, or RFS.

The EPA program requires oil companies and refiners to blend ethanol, biodiesel and a host of other advanced fuels into the nation's fuel supply or be penalized.

The scandal crushed the market value of clean diesel credits, forcing many biofuel companies to file for bankruptcy, while sparking the ire of oil companies that were fined by the EPA for using the phony credits, even though it was proven they were unaware that the credits were fake.

Refiners forced the EPA to devise a rule that would make biofuel firms responsible for verifying credits before selling them on the open market by third-party auditors. And all this because of a few bad apples in the biofuels bunch.

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