Ray Brewer sentenced to nearly seven years for duping investors in a cow dung-to-energy scheme, revealing an elaborate web of deceit.
FRESNO, Calif. — A man from California, caught in an elaborate scam involving a cow dung-to-green energy enterprise, has been sentenced to prison, exposing a years-long ruse described by authorities as nothing more than a pack of lies.
66-year-old Ray Brewer from Porterville was sentenced to six years and nine months in federal prison on Monday, following his involvement in a scam that saw investors being duped out of a staggering $8.75 million, the U.S. attorney’s office disclosed in a statement.
The prosecution explained how, between 2014 and 2019, Brewer orchestrated an elaborate fraud, promising to construct anaerobic digesters at various dairies across Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties in California, and even in Idaho.
Anaerobic digesters leverage microorganisms to decompose biodegradable material, converting it into methane, a valuable commodity that can be sold. This process also entitles the producer to renewable energy credits for contributing to green energy, as detailed in the statement.
Brewer pitched to his investors a profitable business plan, wherein he would transform cow manure into methane, promising them a lucrative 66% share in the net profits as well as tax incentives. However, all of this was merely a veneer for his fraudulent activities, as federal prosecutors detailed.
Investors were shown around dairies where Brewer allegedly planned to construct the digesters. He boasted about having secured millions in funding for the venture, spinning a web of deception with fabricated lease agreements with dairy owners, counterfeit loan agreements with banks, sham contracts with multinational corporations, and phony pictures of the machines supposedly under construction.
The funds from investors were siphoned off into various bank accounts, with Brewer redirecting the money for personal gain. His purchases ranged from acquiring land to building a custom home, even splurging on new Dodge Ram pickup trucks, the authorities reported.
Furthering his deceit, Brewer provided investors with bogus updates on the fictitious construction progress through counterfeit schedules, invoices, power generation reports, and pictures.
In a convoluted twist, Brewer even returned money to some investors, resorting to using funds obtained from other duped participants.
When the investors finally sniffed out the scam and won lawsuits against him, Brewer fled to Sheridan, Montana, and adopted a new identity. His spree of deception ended with his eventual arrest, as confirmed by the U.S. attorney’s office.