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Former CEO of Alder Renewables Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Investors

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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The former CEO of Alder Renewables was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in connection to a scheme to defraud investors. (Photo by Tim Evanson (cc-by-sa-2.0)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- The former CEO of a sustainable fuel company was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud after conducting a scheme to embezzle at least $5.9 million and to defraud investors out of about $15 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bryan Sherbacow, 55, of Charleston, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C., defrauded Alder Renewables, the company he co-founded, by transferring company funds without authorization to his personal bank account and by making unauthorized personal expenditures from a company bank account, according to a news release from the DOJ.

Alder Renewables is a sustainable fuel company based in Boulder, Colorado. The company's technology converts biomass into low-carbon crude that can be used to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other fuels.

According to the DOJ, Sherbacow attempted to conceal his actions by emailing altered bank statements and other falsified financial records to the company's outside accounting firm and members of the company's board, between 2021 and 2022.

"Sherbacow used embezzled funds to pay for, among other things, a vintage Mercedes-Benz sports car, a Range Rover sport utility vehicle, payments to an art auction operator, personal tax liens, personal credit card payments, rent payments on personal residences, payment to a beach club, electronics, and a down payment on a condo," a DOJ news release said.

"To raise additional funds for the company, Sherbacow also sent or caused to be sent altered bank statements and other falsified financial records to prospective and current investors."

For example, DOJ said Sherbacow caused a false and fabricated bank statement to be sent to two investors, in which Sherbacow intentionally removed transactions showing transfers from the company bank account to his personal bank account.

He then falsified account balance information to make it appear that the company possessed more cash on hand than it possessed because of Sherbacow's unauthorized transfer of funds.

"Sherbacow also caused a balance sheet containing false and misleading financial information to be sent to another investor," the news release said.

"In at least partial reliance on the fabricated bank statement and false and misleading financial information, three investors collectively invested approximately $15 million. Sherbacow also misled an individual who loaned funds to the company regarding the company's financial state."

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