Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Valley Man's Cow Manure Plan Was Fake, but His Prison Sentence is Real
bill-new-mug-002
By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 10 months ago on
June 26, 2023

Share

No bull, this might be the smelliest Ponzi scheme ever concocted.

Ray Brewer, 66, of Porterville, received a sentence of six years and nine months in prison Monday in Fresno federal court, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in a news release.

His crime: running a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme where he claimed to turn cow manure into green energy. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Feb. 27.

According to court records, from March 2014 through December 2019, Brewer stole $8.75 million from investors by claiming to build anaerobic digesters on dairies in Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties, as well as other counties in California and Idaho.

He then used some of the investors’ money to buy land, a 3,700-square-foot custom home, and new Dodge Ram pickup trucks for himself.

Point of fact: Anaerobic digesters do convert animal waste into energy. Moreover, the federal government has invested millions in the technology.

Lured Investors With Promise of Green Energy Profits

Anaerobic digesters are large machines that use microorganisms to break down biodegradable material and turn it into methane. The methane can be sold as green energy and is eligible for  Renewable Energy Credits, which are often purchased by companies to meet green energy mandates. Brewer’s investors were supposed to receive 66% of all net profits as well as tax incentives.

As is always the case in Ponzi schemes, the deal was too good to be true.

Or, as in this case, virtually nothing is true — such as Brewer’s claim to arresting federal agents that he was a life-saving naval hero.

Sent Investors Fake Documents and Pictures

Brewer showed investors the dairies where he claimed his company, CH4 Energy, was building digesters and sent them fake pictures of digesters being built.

He also sent them forged lease agreements and loan documents. The bait swallowed by investors, he set the hook with forged contracts with multinational companies that made it appear he had secured revenue streams.

Moved to Montana, Got a New Identity

When Brewer’s investors realized the fraud and obtained civil judgments against him, he moved to Sheridan, Montana, and assumed a new identity.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph D. Barton, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Alyson A. Berg prosecuted the case.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

DON'T MISS

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

DON'T MISS

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

DON'T MISS

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

DON'T MISS

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

DON'T MISS

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

UP NEXT

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

UP NEXT

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

UP NEXT

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

UP NEXT

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

UP NEXT

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

UP NEXT

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

UP NEXT

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

2 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

2 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

3 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

3 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

4 hours ago

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

4 hours ago

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

5 hours ago

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

5 hours ago

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

5 hours ago

RIP, Roman Gabriel, 83: First Filipino-American QB in NFL Was 1969 MVP

6 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

Fresno Unified School Board members are scheduled Wednesday to vote on awarding bids to build a new auxiliary gymnasium at Fresno High Schoo...
Local Education /

1 hour ago

Local Education /
1 hour ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

2 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

2 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

2 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

2 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

3 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

3 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

4 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend