Solar owner in prison for ponzi scheme. THe owner of DC Solar, a Benicia based company, was sentenced for a billion dollar ponzi scheme–the biggest criminal fraud scheme in the history of the Eastern District of California, U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert stated. U.S> District Judge John Mendez sentenced Jeff Carpoff, of Martinez, to 30 years in prison. Carpoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. His wife, Paulette Carpoff, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense agasint the United States and money laundering. The government’s investigation has resulted in approximately $120 million in assets forfeited that the government intends to seek authorization to use towards restituion of the victims of the fraud. Solar owner in prison for ponzi scheme.

Accoding to court documents, between 2011 and 2018, DC Solar manufactured mobile solar generator units, which were solor generators that were mounted on trailers and were promoted as able to provide emergency power to cellphone towers and lighting at sporting events. A segnificant incentive for investors were generous tax credits due to the solar nature of the units. The conspirators carried out an accounting and lease revenue fraud using Ponzi like circular payments. Carpoff and others lied to investors about the market demand for DC Solar’s units and its revenue from leasing to third parties, then covered up these lies with techniques including false financial statements and fake lease contracts. Their fraud concealed a circular payment, structure where Carpoff and others were simply using new investor money to pay older investors the supposed lease revenue.

Carpoff and others made it appear that the units existed in locations that they didn’t, swapped vehicle identification numbers stickers on units that had been built earlier, and attempted to deceive investors during inspections. In reality, at least half of the approximately 17,000 mobile solar generators claimed to have been made did not exist.