Fraud in the News

This scheme is a load of manure and more

This scheme is a load of manure

A California man who convinced investors that he could turn cow manure into energy was sentenced in June to six years in prison.

According to federal prosecutors, Raymond Brewer ran a five-year, $8.75 million Ponzi scheme through a fake business called CH4 Power. Brewer told investors that he owned anaerobic digestion plants that would convert manure into renewable energy. He led investors on tours of dairies, showed them fake lease agreements and altered images of digesters to look like they were under construction, all the while transferring his investors’ funds to multiple bank accounts and buying Dodge Rams and a custom home.

Some investors became suspicious when they discovered that Brewer had issued refunds with money from other investors without their authorization. He then closed CH4 Power, used stolen investor money to obtain a business loan, and lied about building manure-processing plants through another fabricated company.

When authorities arrested him in 2020, Brewer claimed they got the wrong man and that he was a Navy veteran who rescued soldiers from a fire. (See “Man Is Sentenced in $9 Million Cow Manure Ponzi Scheme,” by John Yoon, The New York Times, June 27, 2023.) 

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