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CEO sent to prison for tax evasion

September 12, 2017
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The former head of a shuttered southwest Michigan biofuels company has been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.

John Gerald Oakley, former CEO of now-defunct Michigan BioDiesel, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison based on his guilty plea to two counts of federal tax evasion, said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.

Oakley, of Dimondale, had claimed Michigan BioDiesel was producing “an alternative fuel mixture” that allegedly qualified as an excise tax-exempt fuel in a scheme dating back to 2009.

Oakley was ordered to pay back $1,923,443.50 to the Internal Revenue Service. The restitution includes $1,867,122.50 of tax refunds improperly sent to Michigan BioDiesel and about $56,000 in personal federal taxes that Oakley owed.

Birge said his office zealously prosecutes crimes against the U.S. Treasury.

“Cheating on your taxes is stealing from your neighbors,” he said.

A co-defendant, Tracy Darin Daniels, of Mississippi, was sentenced to two years of probation based on his guilty plea to concealment of a bankruptcy fraud. Daniels provided false documents to Oakley, who submitted them in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court case in the Western District of Michigan.

Michael MacDonald, Sally Berens and Hagen Frank, assistant U.S. attorneys, handled the case.

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