Hudson Valley Heating Oil Company To Pay $3.2 Million Fine
A Hudson Valley heating oil company will fork over $3.2 million after they were convicted Tuesday of falsifying business records and cheating local customers out of money.
According to a press release from New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, Bottini Fuel based in Wappingers Falls was found guilty of improperly diverting credit balances belonging to individuals, business and government customers including school districts, prisons, and town and state agencies.
“Bottini Fuel orchestrated a brazen scheme to defraud its customers for the benefit of the company and its owners,” said Attorney General Underwood. “This conduct was longstanding and harmed individual, business, and government customers. We are grateful to the whistleblower who helped bring this illegal conduct to light and are pleased to be able to give back the money rightfully owed to Hudson Valley customers.”
From 2004 to 2016, Bottini Fuel improperly retained customer overpayments and duplicate payments. Instead of returning the money, they swept excess balances out of customer accounts and used them to the benefit of its owners and employees. Normally overpayments are applied to a customers remaining balance. In this situation, the funds were transferred to dummy accounts then diverted to customer accounts held by Bottini's owners, friends, family members, and some employees.
According to the guilty plea, Bottini admits to pay $1,762,771 in criminal restitution along with an additional 1,500,000 in fines and penalties.