Prosecutor: Theft Ring Took $4 Million In Used Cooking Oil

Jun 21, 2019

Alternative fuels include gaseous fuels such as hydrogen, natural gas, and propane; alcohols such as ethanol, methanol, and butanol; vegetable and waste-derived oils; and electricity. These fuels may be used in a dedicated system that burns a single fuel, or in a mixed system with other fuels including traditional gasoline or diesel, such as in hybrid-electric or flexible fuel vehicles.
Credit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Federal agents say they've mopped up a theft ring involving 21 co-conspirators, responsible for stealing a precious commodity: $3.9 million worth of used cooking oil known as "yellow grease."

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday says the thieves targeted eateries in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia for five years, pumping used oil from restaurant storage tanks into trucks for shipment around the country.

This oil is greasy gold for biodiesel companies. U.S. Agriculture Department data show a 100-pound load of "yellow grease" is worth $25.

A statement from U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon Jr. says the oil rendering industry loses between $45 million and $75 million to oil theft each year.

The suspects face conspiracy and money laundering charges that carry prison sentences of up to 25 years.

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