Obama-era solar company busted in largest-ever eastern California Ponzi scheme

by WorldTribune Staff, January 27, 2020

Another solar power initiative which enjoyed the many green energy incentives given out by the Obama administration has flamed out.

DC Solar has bitten the dust, but not until after it stole “millions from individuals, companies and the U.S. government,” Gateway Pundit noted in a Jan. 26 report.

DC Solar’s Jeff Carpoff and his wife Paulette were charged in what is being called the largest criminal fraud scheme in the history of the Eastern District of California. / Twitter

The Department of Justice in Eastern California reported last week that DC Solar was busted in the largest Ponzi scheme in eastern California history.

The owners of DC Solar, a Benicia-based company, pleaded guilty to charges related to a billion dollar Ponzi scheme, the district DOJ said, adding that it was the biggest criminal fraud scheme in the history of the Eastern District of California.

“The government’s investigation has resulted in the largest criminal forfeiture in the history of the District with over $120 million in assets forfeited that will go to victims, and has returned $500 million to the United States Treasury, with more to come,” U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

Jeff Carpoff, 49, of Martinez, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. His wife, Paulette Carpoff, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and money laundering.

According to court documents, between 2011 and 2018, DC Solar manufactured mobile solar generator units (MSG), solar generators that were mounted on trailers that were promoted as able to provide emergency power to cellphone towers and lighting at sporting events. A significant incentive for investors were generous federal tax credits due to the solar nature of the MSGs.

“The conspirators pulled off their scheme by selling solar generators that did not exist to investors, making it appear that solar generators existed in locations that they did not, creating false financial statements, and obtaining false lease contracts, among other efforts to conceal the fraud. In reality, at least half of the approximately 17,000 solar generators claimed to have been manufactured by DC Solar did not exist,” the DOJ said.

U.S. Attorney Scott stated: “This billion dollar Ponzi scheme hurt investors and took money from the United States Treasury. This case represents not only the largest criminal fraud scheme in the history of the District, it also represents the largest criminal forfeiture in the history of the District with over $120 million in assets forfeited. All of this money will be returned to the victims. This scheme also targeted the United States Treasury, and we have returned $500 million to the Treasury to date. Agents, investigators and attorneys from various federal agencies are still working to continue to return money to victims and the United States Treasury. Today’s guilty pleas sends a strong message that fraudsters will get caught and will pay for their crimes.”

The forfeiture included seizing and auctioning 148 of the Carpoffs’ luxury and collector vehicles, including the 1978 Firebird previously owned by actor Burt Reynolds. In addition to their collection of luxury and collector vehicles, the DOJ said Jeff and Paulette Carpoff used money from the scheme to pay for a minor-league professional baseball team and a NASCAR race car sponsorship; to purchase luxury real estate in California, Nevada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and elsewhere; a subscription private jet service; a suite at a professional football stadium; and jewelry.”

Solar DC is not the first solar company that originated during the Obama administration and benefited from government subsidies in the process. Solar startup Solyndra went bankrupt after it swindled the U.S. government out of more than a half a billion dollars.

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