USA: A man arrested for selling a highly flammable propane/isobutane mixture as a drop-in refrigerant has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay over $130,000 restitution.

Michael Wagner pleaded guilty in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, for attempted theft by means of fraudulent conduct, practices or representations. He received a six-month suspended sentence and two years probation, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $130,834.25.

The investigation revealed that between February 17, 2012 and September 12, 2012, and November 15, 2012 and July 19, 2013, Wagner marketed and sold propane gas as a refrigerant under the company names Superfreeze and FrostyCool, claiming the product was a drop-in replacement for Freon. The actual product was a highly flammable propane/isobutane mixture. In addition, it was shipped in refrigerant cylinders that did not have the specialised pressure relief device required by Federal hazardous material regulations.

The US Department of Transport’s Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation with the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, with assistance from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Louisiana Liquefied Petroleum Gas Commission.

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