Route 303 Auto Service Inc. of Congers has been charged with submitting fraudulent documentation to obtain an incentive grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, according to Acting State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott. The business received $33,634 as a result of the falsified documents.
The business applied for a grant for the installation of biofuel pumps, tanks and equipment under the state’s Bio-Fuel Station Initiative Program. One of the requirements is to submit a statement from biofuel equipment installers that station owners have paid for the installation. While the installer had performed the work for Route 303 Auto Service, it apparently did not pay the installer, Scott said. The shop allegedly forwarded a letter to the state on letterhead purportedly from the company that installed the equipment, claiming the work had been paid for, she said.
Route 303 Auto Service has been charged with third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony. Arraignment took place today before Judge Rolf M. Thorsen of the Clarkstown Justice Court. The case has been adjourned until Jan. 30, 2013.
“NYSERDA’s grant program is designed to increase the number of retail biofuel service stations in New York State and assist businesses selling alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, not to serve as a mechanism for theft for unscrupulous businesses,” Scott said in a statement.
NYSERDA, which notified Scott’s office of the potential fraud, has strengthened the Bio-Fuel Station Initiative Program by requiring additional documentation of payments made to contractors and conducting a post-installation physical inspection to verify fuel is being dispensed before providing the incentive grant.
“This defendant abused a program designed to help the environment and improve the lives of all residents of Rockland County,” Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said in a statement. “By submitting phony documentation, the owner of Route 303 Auto Service stole from the pockets of honest taxpayers.”
(Photo courtesy of New York State Inspector General’s Office.)