- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - A 77-year-old Renton man has been sentenced to nearly nine years in prison for his role in helping a green energy company defraud the government of $9.5 million.

Gen-X Energy Group was an alternative fuel company based in Pasco and Moses Lake. Prosecutors said it falsely claimed to produce millions of gallons of renewable energy from food waste, and the IRS paid it $9.5 million in alternative fuel tax credits.

Richard Estes pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy in a December 2015 plea deal. Prosecutors said that in 2013 and 2014 he helped launder $39 million in proceeds of the scam through accounts he controlled. U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. sentenced him last week and ordered him to pay $4.4 million in restitution to the government.

Gen-X’s founder, Scott C. Johnson, has also pleaded guilty. He is due to be sentenced in April.

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