$50 Million Dollar Massachusetts Renewable Energy Fraud

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Samuel C Cogar – A couple from Acton, Massachusetts have been charged with defrauding the United States Government of more than fifty million dollars worth of tax free renewable energy grants.

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Acton Couple Arrested for Defrauding the Treasury Department of Over $50 Million in Tax Free Energy Grants

BOSTON – An Acton couple was arrested today and charged with defrauding the U.S. Treasury Department of more than $50 million in tax free energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Christopher N. Condron, 45, and Jessica Metivier, 41, were charged in an indictment unsealed today with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and three counts of wire fraud. They were released on conditions following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston today.

The indictment alleges that Condron and Metivier conspired to submit fraudulent applications to the Treasury Department for energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act provided tax-free grants to individuals and businesses who put certain “specified energy property”—such as wind farms and gasification systems that convert trash into electricity—into service in a trade or business.

From May 2009 to June 2013, Condron and Metivier allegedly submitted fraudulent grant applications to the Treasury Department on behalf of four different Massachusetts companies, Acton Bio Energy, Concord Nurseries, Kansas Green Energy and Ocean Wave Energy. According to the indictment, for each of the applications, Condron and Metivier falsely claimed that Metivier and her entities had acquired, placed into service, or started construction of energy property, which allegedly included three different bio-fuel gasification systems, purportedly built at a cost of approximately $88 million, and an $84 million wind farm project. Condron and Metivier sought to be reimbursed for more than $50 million based on those costs—which the indictment alleges they never actually incurred—and received grants totaling more than $8 million. To support their applications, Condron and Metivier submitted fraudulent documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who, in turn, submitted the applications to the Treasury Department on their behalf.

The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. The government acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Neil J. Gallagher, Jr. of Weinreb’s Economic Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Source: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/acton-couple-arrested-defrauding-treasury-department-over-50-million-tax-free-energy

This isn’t the first time money on this scale has been lost to green fraud.

Last year a green fraud for a similar amount was exposed in Pennsylvania. The description of the alleged Acton fraud suggests that many green frauds have yet to be uncovered; it seems apparent that for way too long, nobody bothered to perform the most basic checks on whether the government grant money was being spent on building renewable energy facilities. I find it shocking that so much money was allegedly lost to such a blatant, amateurish scheme.

Makes you wonder just how many phantom green energy assets have been charged to US taxpayers, how much money has been lost to green criminals.

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markl
August 13, 2017 7:12 pm

The end justifies the means. Saying you contributed to saving the world from fossil fuel emissions is just as good as doing it. Why challenge a supporter? And guess what…… it made no difference in climate whether you were honest or not!

Leonard Lane
Reply to  markl
August 13, 2017 9:25 pm

Bingo!

Goodspkr
Reply to  Leonard Lane
August 14, 2017 8:19 am

Hey, Trump got a lot of criticism for dropping out of the Paris Treaty . In that trillions of dollars invested would decrease the temperature by .17 degrees C by 2100 in the best case. The whole thing is a scam.

Reply to  Leonard Lane
August 14, 2017 8:48 am

Maybe they should have contributed more of those dollars to the Clinton campaign, With a different 45 the justice department might have given extra points for good intentions.

August 13, 2017 7:16 pm

Because these people can clearly see that the whole CAGW-Global Warming System is a complete fraud, they feel themselves totally justified in extending the action of Government Fraud to benefit themselves.

Tom Halla
August 13, 2017 7:24 pm

Considering the whole program is based on a fraud, how can one tell this one is even more of a fraud? Useless virtue signalling for doing something useless, or virtue signalling for doing nothing?

TA
August 13, 2017 7:38 pm

That was too easy. $50 million!

interested1945
Reply to  TA
August 15, 2017 8:41 am

You are absolutely correct. For every government “free-handout” program, there is an army of specialists trying to figure out how to defraud the government. Since these politicians are not using their own money, they do not check, verify, or follow-up and just show on paper how much good they are doing. Sad but true.

Mark T
August 13, 2017 8:07 pm

Free money always draws out the criminals. That’s why we have the government we have. It’s the one we deserve, I suppose.

August 13, 2017 8:14 pm

It is and has been a global situation. Government Suckers looking to be scammed. Look at all the so called Climate scientists that have been scamming taxpayers all over the globe. Warning were given many years ago but no one wanted to listen or very few. Ask John Coleman how long he has been calling it a scam.

Reply to  Michael Davis
August 14, 2017 2:25 am

An interesting read. Are we there yet? Where to from here
https://mises.org/blog/end-nation-state

jorgekafkazar
August 13, 2017 8:16 pm

Donation records: Christopher Condron
1115 5TH AVE NEW YORK NY 10128
PRESIDENT, AXA FINANCIAL INC
$3000.00
MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRATIC PARTY
$1000.00
Tim Johnson (D)
$1000.00
Defend America PAC (R)

Tom in Florida
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
August 14, 2017 4:55 am

Apparently not enough to shield him from investigation.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 14, 2017 7:57 am

Maybe it’s not too late to donate some more.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Tom in Florida
August 14, 2017 11:29 am

Maybe they tumbled to the Defend America donation.

toorightmate
August 13, 2017 8:43 pm

How much will Elon be fined?

Bryan A
Reply to  toorightmate
August 13, 2017 9:45 pm

Twice the gain or loss

Paul Penrose
Reply to  toorightmate
August 15, 2017 3:30 pm

Have to show fraud first. Can you? Or are you just making unfounded allegations right out of the Alinsky playbook?

Mick In The Hills
August 13, 2017 8:46 pm

If a government puts a scheme in place that is patently just p!ss!ng money down the sink, of course some people will see it as open slather.
Here in Australia, as a government measure to stimulate the economy after the global financial crisis, they decreed that all schools would have new assembly halls built, whether they needed or wanted them anyway.
Of course when the construction bills started coming in, the government discovered they were being charged up to 3 times and more what these halls should have cost under normal competitive bidding.
Well after the funds had been expended, they had an inquiry into cost over runs, which of course found that because of the “urgency” of this program, some cost irregularities could be expected.

mobihci
Reply to  Mick In The Hills
August 13, 2017 10:14 pm

the rain water tanks were the same.didnt take long for the price of tanks to drop the $2k that the rebate was after the rebate had ended. nobody bothered to follow this up of course.

Editor
Reply to  Mick In The Hills
August 14, 2017 1:11 am

I know of one school that ensured that its hall came at the lowest possible cost. The government threw every possible obstacle in their path, and threatened to sue them into oblivion if any tiny thing went wrong. The point is that the objective of the government program wasn’t to build school halls, it was to spend as much money as they could as fast as possible.

Streetcred
Reply to  Mick In The Hills
August 15, 2017 12:19 am

I administered some of these programs, the waste was horrific, a feeding frenzy of unscrupulous builders grabbing whatever they could and incompetent govt employed ‘project managers’ for want of a word, that couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag. An appalling state of affairs!

Gary Pearse
August 13, 2017 9:02 pm

Had HRC got elected, we would never know – this is what the crony caps do. Hey, how does a bureaucrat get a $100million(?) to report on the income tax like HRC did.

TA
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 14, 2017 5:41 am

“Hey, how does a bureaucrat get a $100million(?) to report on the income tax like HRC did.”
HRC had to give a lot of valuable speeches to earn that money. Bill, too. The Russians thought Bill’s speech was especially valuable and paid him $500,000 for one speech, twice his going rate.
I think Congress is asking the DOJ for a Special Counsel to be appointed to investigate the lucrative Russian connection to HRC. Things might just get interesting. 🙂

Louis
August 13, 2017 10:38 pm

“Condron and Metivier submitted fraudulent documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who, in turn, submitted the applications to the Treasury Department on their behalf.”
Does the attorney who submitted the fraudulent documentation bear any liability in this matter? Or are lawyers exempt from any requirement to verify that the information they are submitting is valid?

Coach Springer
Reply to  Louis
August 14, 2017 8:07 am

Great question. Probably a long and ultimately disappointing answer. I’m pretty sure they can’t knowing submit false information in court. But the courts protect the court system, not the government.. Anyone know if the attorney cooperated with the investigation?

Louis
August 13, 2017 10:51 pm

I also wonder why the Treasury Department would give out $50 million without doing any kind of physical inspection of the property. If they don’t like to travel, they could have contracted with someone local to visit the property and send them photos. They will probably claim that doing so would have cost them money from their own operating budget. It’s as if spending millions to save a few pennies is a good thing.

Reply to  Louis
August 14, 2017 6:17 am

It appears from the report that they actually got grants of $8 million, presumably for startup.

Marie
Reply to  Louis
August 14, 2017 7:22 am

State permitting of wind projects (in Minnesota at least) has been going on right and left with absolutely no site visits or verification of what is submitted in the permit application. The feds would be less likely than state to have any inspection process. And when we citizens/property owners/businesses point out problems or misrepresentations, we are ignored. The fox is watching and “eating up” the hen house. There is no “watch” or “inspection” going on here. Only full on corruption.

angech
August 13, 2017 10:57 pm

Just too slow, I am too slow.
The next DVD craze, Finger spinners, AGW,…….
I am just too slow.

August 13, 2017 11:08 pm

This type of behaviour is officially sanctioned in the UK. See https://capx.co/the-scottish-wind-power-racket/
There are several multi-millionaires in the UK who have made their money by capitalising in on Government-promoted ruinable energy subsidy schemes – the schemes all based on lies. Fuel poverty has consequently been rising at an alarming rate. But the millionaires carry on regardless.

Nigel S
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 14, 2017 3:11 am

Don’t forget the Northern Ireland debacle with empty sheds being heated by burning wood pellets from USA. Another billion for the taxpayers to find.

Germinio
August 14, 2017 12:15 am

I do think some perspective is needed here. Enron for example defrauded stockholders of about $45 billion
while Barclays was fined $450 million for fraud recently. And looking at the same website
https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr
there was another case of a 4 million dollar fraud on the same day and a case of 3.5 million dollar fraud the
day before. I suspect that if you looked at frequency of fraud against the amount this case would not be exceptional. There is no evidence that green funds are easier to defraud than Enron stockholders for
example.

Nigel S
Reply to  Germinio
August 14, 2017 3:12 am

Apart from the whole green fund being fradulaent of course.

DonM
Reply to  Germinio
August 14, 2017 11:26 am

For some one to be defrauded of 45 Billion, some else needs to have acquired 45 Billion.
Where did the 45 Billion go?
bubble money is not real money.

tobyglyn
August 14, 2017 12:27 am

They are not criminals, they are green entrepreneurs proving that the green economy can generate healthy profits! (OK, I’m drunk)

commieBob
August 14, 2017 1:06 am

Public fraud is a big deal. link The FBI puts the cost into the billions.
It looks like public fraud is dwarfed by tax evasion. link I’ve seen figures between 300 and 500 million bucks per year.
The annual figure for tax evasion is, in turn, dwarfed by the 2008 bank bailout which cost around 700 billion and further enriched some of the already wealthy who should really be in jail. link
It seems that, if you’re big enough and smart enough, you can rip off the tax payers with impunity.

commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
August 14, 2017 4:42 am

OOPS – “300 and 500 million bucks per year” make that “300 and 500 billion bucks per year”

Ted
Reply to  commieBob
August 14, 2017 5:38 am

The bank bailout ended up costing the government nothing, they paid back every dollar with interest; which combined with the fact that they were directly driven by government regulations probably helped them avoid jail. The fact the people most responsible were named Carter and Clinton probably played a factor also. Heck, even a young lawyer named Obama helped sue Citibank to force them to give out the risky loans that lead to the crisis.
Now the automaker unions, we haven’t been so fortunate with that money.
https://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/financial-stability/reports/Pages/TARP-Investment-Program-Transaction-Reports.aspx

Ervin
Reply to  Ted
August 14, 2017 6:22 am

Ted you got it exactly right, so many just don’t think it through.

commieBob
Reply to  Ted
August 14, 2017 8:32 am

I did not know that. Apparently the government is running a profit. link

TL
Reply to  Ted
August 14, 2017 9:49 am

I would have been able to pay back the loans too. I would have bought up the bankrupt financial sector for pennies on the dollar and then made a fortune. You know, like Buffet does. Bottom line, I am not impressed that the loans were repaid and the repayment is no defense to the criticisms.

Robert of Ottawa
August 14, 2017 2:48 am

Weren’t any receipts required?

Nigel S
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
August 14, 2017 3:13 am

Printing some receipts wouldn’t take long.

Ian W
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
August 14, 2017 3:14 am

No receipts were required because once the sums go above about half a million people ask for assurances through a lawyer not for receipts. It is like the saying – “If you owe the bank a $1000 you have a problem; if you owe the bank $1Billion the bank has a problem.”

mpe8691
August 14, 2017 3:48 am

A difficult problem with these kind of incentives is rarely actually result in people doing what they “should do”. Especially if there is poor or no oversight. Instead they’ll attract those who will creatively extract as much money as quickly as possible. Regardless of consequences. Thus you can see “green energy” which actually increases fossil fuel usage.

arthur4563
August 14, 2017 3:58 am

Govt employees are not intrinsically motivated to verify anything it seems. That requires effort
and there is no reward – plus, they are protected by civil service laws .
Notice that the govt rarely revisits laws to see whether the are working – biofuels?? C’mon now, biofuels are not something to subsidize. And there are those hefty govt subsidies for wind, you know, the subsidies that windfolks claim aren’t needed. Wind and solar receive preferential treatment by the grid, their power is accepted in preference to lower carbon, far more valuable nuclear power, and is it subsidized to boot. As for nuclear, the govt was charging those plants far more money to cover nuclear waste disposal than would ever be needed. The courts ordered the govt to return those funds – billions. Notice that neither wind nor solar are charged for disposal of their toxic wastes (worthless – huge, mammoth blocks of concrete that are the base for every windmill. Who’s going to remove those monsters)? Nuclear wastes, in the words of some, are not wastes at all – that spent fuel may no longer have the energy required to spin huge electrical turbine generators, but it contains an enormous amount of free energy – enough to desalinate
enormous amounts of sea water and performa many other tasks (heating factories, or city blocks of buildings, for example) while contained in concrete casks, which are being heated to 350 degrees or more. So , naturally, instead of utilizing all of this emission-free energy, our braindead govt wants to pay to bury it a thousand feet underground, where it will heat up the surrounding earth. Smart, real smart, Feds.

commieBob
Reply to  arthur4563
August 14, 2017 4:57 am

Govt employees are not intrinsically motivated to verify anything it seems.

It’s a bureaucracy so intrinsic motivation doesn’t enter into it. Government employees have to do their job in the specified manner and deviations therefrom are punished.
If civil servants are allowed to innovate, they can compete quite successfully with private enterprise. link

lyn roberts
Reply to  commieBob
August 14, 2017 4:30 pm

CommieBob, – I came from private to Govt Dept as a contractor, picked up a couple of issues, paying for telephone connections in a building that had been knocked down years previous, and the one that really got me in trouble, in fact my long time contract was ended so fast my head spun, taxi vouchers being cashed by senior managers.
Even rang the manager of the Taxi co, (husband happened to be working for them at the time), and where was the taxi drivers favourite rank, outside the casino, say no more.
Still wish to this day I had gone against the secrecy act and made it public through the newspapers, but have seen what happened to others who have done exactly that, never worked again, even though they were right, and I had a family to support.
Manager completely dismissed my presentation of multiple vouchers and contact with Taxi co. Same manager still a senior manager in the Govt Dept, do i need to say any more.

Shawn Marshall
August 14, 2017 4:24 am

Another example of the inherent failure mechanisms of Socialism.

Reply to  Shawn Marshall
August 14, 2017 7:45 pm

It’s called: “Internal Contradictions”. It causes socialism to fail, every time it is tried.

john
August 14, 2017 5:17 am

Massachusetts is the absolute clear winner in renewable frauds and bankruptcy. The list is extensive. I include SUNE as the First Wind acquisition and FW/Enronesque accounting practices did them in (although the FW guys bailed Sune after they sold them a real cream puff and formed Longroad Energy Partners.
I highly suspect they were also at that secret meeting with climate scientists et.al. at the Big Rock ski resort in NE Maine. That was where UPC/First Wind/IVPC pulled some very bad things and built their flagship wind farm.

Scott
August 14, 2017 5:25 am

Seems to me the whole point of these green energy grants is to build your green energy junk as cheap as possible, don’t spend anything on longevity, maintenance, etc just to capture the grant and secure the short term profit. Building nothing actually makes much more sense than building junk.

Hans-Georg
August 14, 2017 5:36 am

If Christopher N. Condron really is an employee of the AXA USA, then I do not want anything more. AXA USA is a subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, close to Merkel and renewable energy companies in Germany. With these methods, bribes to municipalities, clubs in the municipalities and so on, they work in Germany as well.

EternalOptimist
August 14, 2017 5:48 am

that 50 million probably did more to reduce carbon emissions than 50 million spent on windfarms.

Coach Springer
Reply to  EternalOptimist
August 14, 2017 8:11 am

There are studies and analyses to back you up.

Samuel C Cogar
August 14, 2017 5:55 am

The root cause of all the above noted “ripping off” of taxpayer monies by the inhabitants of the DC Swamp of Corrupted Creatures …… is based solely in/on the per se “legal” act of vote-buying that has been “running rampant” for years n’ years in both the federal and all state governments.
If it is a “legal act” then those engaging in said “taxpayer rip-offs” cannot be prosecuted for committing a crime.
But, if you are not a party to or connected directly with the aforesaid “legal” act of vote-buying then you are subject to being arrested and convicted for your illegal act of defrauding, embezzling or stealing taxpayer monies from federal or state agencies.
Big “cash” donations to election or re-election funds of political candidates pretty much insures that, if elected or re-elected, said politician will either introduce legislation or support legislation that the big “cash” donators want enacted.
Thus, for example, a $10K donation to an election fund will result in a $100K earning from a business venture ……. and it was completely legal and no laws were broken.

beng135
August 14, 2017 6:40 am

A $50 million dust-mote is microscopic compared to the legal “environmental” money-laundering going on all the time.

Coach Springer
August 14, 2017 8:09 am

It’s like the government was ordered to spend money on policy without question. Good thing that isn’t happening elsewhere.

Auto
Reply to  Coach Springer
August 14, 2017 12:44 pm

Coach
I missed the /SARC.
Auto

old man
August 14, 2017 8:12 am

So, the eminently stupid federal government sent these two people $50 million over a period of a few years without making a single inspection. Those who were in the approval precess need to be jailed or at the very least, fired!

Sara
August 14, 2017 8:14 am

Well, it is annoying, mostly because I didn’t know you could scam that much money out of the taxpayers for nonexistent projects. I have been enlightened.
It just doesn’t surprise me, that’s all.

J Mac
August 14, 2017 8:29 am

Crony Socialism, at its finest!

Terry Warner
August 14, 2017 8:35 am

A simple fraud which has nothing to do with climate change or green technology.
If governments launch schemes which provides subsidies to encourage particular behaviours, fraudsters will be waiting for the quick buck.
It is really a reflection on the woeful inability if government to engage with he private sector.

michael hart
August 14, 2017 10:06 am

To support their applications, Condron and Metivier submitted fraudulent documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who, in turn, submitted the applications to the Treasury Department on their behalf.

The greens may well be amateurish in their sailings upon the sea of fraud, but there is usually a professional somewhere on the ship.

Amber
August 14, 2017 7:01 pm

This is the baby case tester of renewable grant fraud . $Billions have been given to renewable flame outs
that knew they ripped off tax payers while government bureaucrats played along .
A $80 billion Obama give away program and what a coincidence that Democrat donors just happened to be lottery winners . Clintons pay to play , Obama’s “renewable ‘ grant program .
Steal from taxpayers to get donations . Sweet .

Paul Penrose
August 15, 2017 3:35 pm

The more money the government controls, the more corruption there will be. This is obvious and has been known for a long time. That is why the founders of this country (US) started with the smallest government they could get away with. My has their baby grown! It needs to go on a diet.

R. Shearer
August 18, 2017 5:17 pm

Steal a million a year for 30 years and you can get away with it. http://cola.gmu.edu/shukla/

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