A Texas electric provider was fined $235,750 on Friday for overbilling customers and providing misleading information to do business in the state.
Glacial Energy, now based in the U.S. Virgin Islands but founded in Dallas, collected sales tax from residential customers even though rules exempt them from paying sales tax for electricity, according to the Texas Public Utility Commission.
“Glacial violated rules regarding customer pricing disclosures and overbilled its customers,” the PUC wrote in a notice of violation.
The violations resulted in “unfair, misleading, deceptive or anticompetitive business practices,” the agency said.
Glacial attorney Suedeen Kelly did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The PUC also found that Glacial Energy gave “false or misleading information” when it applied for its certification in 2006.
Specifically, the company failed to disclose that its chief executive officer, Gary Mole, was previously an owner of a failed electric provider, Franklin Power, the PUC said.
According to the PUC, Glacial “indicated it has made refunds” of the sales tax erroneously assessed but “has not taken any efforts to correct” other violations.
Glacial can appeal the fine, said PUC spokesman Terry Hadley.
The same company was accused in a federal lawsuit in Dallas of being a "racketeering enterprise" whose true business was to launder money in a mining operation in a part of Africa known for blood diamonds.
The lawsuit was filed by Michael Petrus, a former business associate of Gary Mole.
In a court hearing last year, a Glacial attorney called the suit "frivolous."