One of three scam artists behind a $54 million ponzi scheme was sentenced to prison for her role in the biggest ‘green energy’ scams in US history, according to NBC New York.
Troy Wragg and Amanda Knorr in their Mantria Corp. offices in 2009
35-year-old Amanda Knorr of Hellertown, Pennsylvania received just 30 months in federal prison for a ponzi scheme involving her 2005 startup, Mantria, in which “many people lost their life savings,” according to assistant US Attorney Robert Livermore following Knorr’s sentencing.
Knorr co-founded a company called Mantria Corp., which with the help of a slick-talking Colorado “wealth advisor” raised millions for a supposed clean energy product called “biochar.”
Knorr and fellow Mantria co-founder Troy Wragg both graduated in 2005 from Temple University and within four years had raised $54 million from hundreds of investors. Most of the investors were wooed through seminars run by Wayde McKelvey, of Colorado.
Their pitch about producing biochar, however, turned out to be completely baked, according to prosecutors, and eventually proved to be a giant Ponzi scheme. –NBC New York
According to federal prosecutors, Mantria never came close to producing biochar at their Tennessee facility. At seminars run by “wealth advisor” Wayde McKelvy of Colorado, investors were told a different story. “These investors, husbands and wives nearing retirement, retirees looking to invest their savings, and other small-time prospectors, were wooed by the idea of big profits from clean energy: getting rich and saving the world,” according to the report.
McKelvy was convicted in October on charges of wire fraud and securities fraud, and is currently appealing his conviction. Wragg’s sentencing is set for June.
Co-conspirator Wayde McKelvy
“Instead of high returns, the over 300 victims of this fraud unwittingly invested in uninhabitable land and a bogus trash-to-green energy business idea based on bogus scientific methodology, said US Attorney William McSwain last October after McKelvy’s conviction.
The fraudsters were honored by former President Bill Clinton in a 2009 ceremony for the Clinton Global Initiative before the scam came to light. After Mantria was first charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for selling millions in unlicensed securities in 2009, the case was known as “the biggest green scam” in the history of the United States, according to the report.
Troy Wragg, right, on stage in 2009 with former President Bill Clinton during a ceremony of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Photo credit: Youtube via NBC New York
Of the $54 million thought to have been invested in Mantria, $17 million was returned to early investors to keep the Ponzi scheme going, while misleading new investors into thinking the venture was hugely profitable. By the time they were shut down by the SEC in 2009, Mantria had just $790,000 of the remaining $37 million.
Wragg, in an interview with Metro newspaper in 2009, said he didn’t spend lavishly despite the influx of millions to his company.
“I live in a 1,200-square-foot [home],” he told Metro in the only interview he has given. “I don’t drive a Lamborghini.”
But the newspaper noted that he did drive around in a Mercedes SLK350 with a “MANTRIA” vanity license plate.
A class action lawsuit filed in federal court eventually recovered about $6 million for victims of the scheme. Another $800,000 was placed in a receivership, overseen by a Colorado accountant John Paul Anderson. –NBC New York
Anderson – the accountant tasked with dispersing funds recovered in the class action lawsuit, has yet to distribute the money which remains in receivership.
Beware the green snake oil hawkers. Opportunists capitalizing on the smoke and mirrors scientology of anthropogenic climate manipulation. Imaginary technologies to meet an imaginary crisis.
The biggest clean energy scam? Measly millions? The renewable energy scam is going ahead at full speed. Trillions?
Unfortunately it’s taken so long to get to this point, but I hope for lots more of it. But I bet the “Elites” get away scot-free, The Goreacle to name just one.
People who invested in Al Gore’s fund made money.
So, as long as you classify Microsoft et al. as low carbon companies, Gore was absolutely on the up-and-up.
There’s a lot to be said for luck and timing and picking the right partner. For sure, his fund wasn’t making money by pushing renewable energy … which, I guess, was smart.
One of his,ALGOREs schemes was to create the exchange for trading of carbon credits. He was not the brains behind the scheme simply a high profile signatory. It would work something like this. Company A allocated X carbon units by big brother over at the EPA would us X+Y unites of carbon and would buy Y unites from Gore’s exchange. If consumer B used X-Y he would sell back his Y units for a refund/credit towards his next months usage.
If memory serves me correctly this scam, that he was trying to incorporate globally, is what landed him in the British courts where they banned him from doing business in the UK for what amounted to the many inaccuracies of his then recent Inconvenient propaganda documentary that came nowhere near the truth. I could be wrong on the connection but he did end up getting his tallywacker wacked in the UK.
The Goreacle has fallen on hard times. While his profits are clean, green, his prophecies are a dream and non-renewable.
I’d like to know the NAMES of the investors looking to get rich off of this yet another government funded green scam… Aren’t most of them scams when they get rich by take my money against my will?
I would like to know those names also, perhaps they still have enough to buy my fool proof roulette system.
Count me in too. I have some RGGI CO2 allowances that I will sell to anyone who wants to pay the social cost of carbon price for them. It would only be ten times the price I paid but well worth their virtue signaling
I had completely forgotten about “biochar”
aka … charcoal briquettes? How innovative. How “green”
You make them & then throw ’em into the ocean. Viola — carbon sequestration/virtue signaling.
A viol scheme.
Go into a liquor store in desperation and rob them of $50 bucks and get 5 to 10 years in prison. Swindle innocent people of thirty million dollars in a well-planned, multi-year, multi-state ponzi scheme related to climate change and get honored by Bill Clinton and, at most, do two and a have years at a country club detainment facility.
I am just not sure I can say anything about this and still get this post approved!
I’m guessing that one involves a gun and threats of violence. But that’s about all I can see.
The premeditated and coordinated nature of the organised theft, is far more far reaching and hurts many people who can least afford to be hurt at this time in their life. A despicable business model to be sure.
I have always thought there should be a monetary crime punishment equivalent to violence in crime punishments. For example if you steal 1 million that equals manslaughter, 5 million, murder, 10 million, premeditated murder, 20 million, mass murder, 100 million, treason, but in that case the only allowed penalty would be hanging.
Just my opinion.
Not “just your opinion”, as I share it although think you are a little lenient. I would also add further penalty to those in positions of power and influence….especially if their actions hurt others.
Send em to the Tower.
We’ll need a bigger Tower
A boat will work fine, Mike, if you catch my drift.
good opinion. When folks start thinking about money, what money *really* is, they grasp it’s not just a store of wealth, not just a representation of your effort and time, rather it is a representation of your very life.
You work.. sure, but that really means you give X hours of your day to some dude in exchange for money, hours you never get back. If you want the meal, you give up an hour of your life or somesuch. If you want the shiny car you surrender x years of your life. If you have to replace it because some toad who things money crimes don’t really hurt people decides to steal it, that’s X years of your life stolen, and X years you need to sell off again to but another.
So when some dill proclaims ‘it’s only money’ re some green boofheaded government ‘plan’ to subsidize this or that, basically they’re saying yeah sure to the government throwing away the entire lives of a percentage of the population.
So I agree, go for broke – let’s work it out based on the average wage or thereabouts, I think it might slow these thieves down were they to face multiple back to back life sentences . And let’s include politicians and bureaucrats who spend money irresponsibly in this too – please let us include them !
It makes me angry whenever people say “It’s just money…”. It’s not “JUST” money. It is my time; my life!
This is one of the reasons it is so important to kick out the Socialists. Here in Alberta we now have an opportunity next week to kick out the socialist scum once and for all.
In China this is indeed the case. Such things are called “economic crimes”. For very large sums they do indeed inflict the death penalty on the basis that people in need were going to die as a result of the theft of community-generated wealth.
The sentence is carried out at the back of the building on the same day.
When by criminal activity, such as supplying fentanyl, one causes the death of thousands, how should it be treated? Mischief? I think not.
Also in China if you supply someone an illegal weapon and they use it in a crime you are held co-responsible for it. A policeman who winks and looks the other way, say in a case of mass grooming and child rape, is co-responsible.
My what a difference accountability can make.
Modern China isn’t where one wants to look for a law-enforcement model.
I suggest passing on emulating the law-enforcement system of a country with China’s track record on human rights.
In the UK you could be sentenced to transportation to Australia for stealing equivalent of $12. You would be likely to die en route.
As long as we’re discussing sentencing, if a person premeditates, plots and plans and carries out a murder, why should the survival of his victim affect his sentence at all? In effect, you’re rewarding his incompetence!
Only 30 months? Sounds like some public servant who steals millions from the the tax payers and only gets a short sentence in in jail.
All those who initiated and continue to push the world-wide Green Scare are a part of one of the largest – if not THE largest – scam in world history. Hopefully the names and reputations of these people will be “imprisoned” in future historical exposés.
Unstated in article is this interesting question… what was the relationship between Mantria and the Clinton Global Initiative?
After-all, it would be uncharacteristic of the Clinton’s to give praise absent some sort of political and/or monetary quid pro quo (usually both)… uncompensated praise just isn’t how they work.
Excellent point, Dave. In ’09 (before before she began as Sec. of State), someone stealing $34m could afford to buy a Clinton award for $1m or less. After her appt, you’d have to steal ALOT more.
Yeah, the price has gone up. In the 1990’s, when Hillary was “only” an unemployed resident living in the White House at government expense, she could be bought for the going rate of $100,000.00 donation to the Clinton Presidential Trailer Park (er, Library). Then the rate went to 100 million went she was Secretary of State, aiming for the Presidency.
Does the award mean that the Biochar scammers donated to the Clinton Foundation?
Bankruptcy administrators should follow the money and maybe get some of the investors funds back from the Clintons.
“Does the award mean that the Biochar scammers donated to the Clinton Foundation?”
We have a very good chance of finding out as the Clinton Foundation is under federal investigation.
“Meanwhile, next week a GOP Congressional subcommittee led by Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) will review the work of John Huber – the US attorney designated a year ago by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate “all things Clinton.”
The link above is worth reading. It has a lot of details in it.
“…Congressional subcommittee …” Don’t hold your breath. When was the last time Congress managed to figure anything out?
Did Clinton buy into Biochar???
Well, the biggest scam is still going and governments like Trudeau in Canada are supporting it.
Right behind them.
Bad day in PA for renewable “entrepreneurs.”
There is justice that lies beyond social justice.
Yes, the Clintons are indeed the bovine excrement pile attracting the flies looking for a meal ticket.
I thank God everyday its President Trump and not President Clinton.
At least with Trump, the WH ceremonial silver dinnerware utensils are safe.
Barack already stole them. They were replaced by plastic straws, but..
“I thank God everyday its President Trump and not President Clinton.”
Had Hillary Clinton been elected we would be in great danger of losing our Republic and wouldn’t even know it.
Hillary and Barack attempted to rig the election using the power of the federal government and had they been successful, we would have been none the wiser about all the criminality they perpetrated, and on top of that, they would have been free to continue to rig the system so that no conservative was ever elected president again.
We came very close to losing our future to these scoundrels. We better punish these traitors in order to discourage future traitors from being so bold as to think they can take over the United States of America and thwart the Will of the People.
And it looks like to me that we are on our way to uncovering these seditious and treasonous acts on the part of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and those Cabinet Members who worked in his administration, along with their minions.
Now it’s all going to come out. The Obama Administration Democrats should be shaking in their boots because a lot of them are going down for their crimes.
And this is just scratching the surface of the corruption in the Obama administration.
All the pundits on Fox News (except the Liberals) have big smiles on their faces lately. All the pundits on the Leftwing Media are looking mighty glum lately. That ought to tell you who is winning and who is losing.
The tide has turned. Trump has been exonerated and now he is free to pursue the real criminals who tried to steal our freedoms.
They are working as we speak to end the Electoral College, ending Federalism
30 months. Not quite one month/$1,000,000. Seems fair to me. Same lawyer as Jussie? Must be having a sale on convictions and sentences.
It’s funny that the biggest con-artists in history, are awarding the prize to the second biggest con-artists :).
A Clinton involved, you don’t say?
The well known, “birds of a feather flock together”
lessor known (and much less quoted) is that “late night/early morning groups of trouble making, carousing adolescent raccoons all poop together”)
How much stolen and drug money was laundered?
Back in 2009 Tim Flannery and the ABC were also pushing the biochar wagon. Surprise , surprise, surprise as Gomer used to say.
Biochar, yeah right. There seem to be an unlimited number of people out there that present themselves as prey to conmen/conwomen.
They are usually to be found in the political establishments…
Biochar, too good to be true.
yup a simple burnoff does as much for free and isnt energy intense to make;-)
see tips for another epic fail in Sth Aus algal fuel;-)
Well burning dollar bills creates biochar doesn’t it unless Uncle Sam is into plastic notes nowadays? Come to think of it Greens don’t like plastic either so win win either way with such deeply felt feelings.
I would be very interested to know how extensive mainstream news coverage of this latest green deceit has been in the States – if any US reader would be kind enough to oblige.
Here this kind of embarrassment to enviro-scam would hardly rate a mention except as a sub- note perhaps, as the growing disgrace of the WWF which is now being investigated by the charity commission clearly demonstrates.
The New York Times covered the original SEC filings that occurred in, are you sitting down, 2009. It took ten years and a change of administration for the perps to be brought to justice. I tried without success to find out if Mantria received the $600,000 award before or after they were first sued by the SEC in 2009.
I don’t get it… that guy might as well have “CONMAN” tattoed on his forehead and people still get bilked… smh
Ye won’t read that in the Guardian. Knorr is a major Swiss food giant producing anything from condiments to soup, especially soup. It will not go down well in Pennsylvania I guess.
Mann, oh Mann. oh Mann. You could knock me down with a hockey stick. Who ever would have thought the climate alarmist/Green energy advocates would have fraudsters in their midst….?
On the severity of the penalty or lack of. 30 months for stealing $37 million seems a small price. I would happily spend a month in jail for £1 million.
A spokesperson for the Democratic political elite, has gone on record and said;
“I did not have biochar with that woman”
So there we have it, proof positive, nothing to see here. Move along now, please, move along…
Don’t feel any pity for people investing in „renewables“
I don’t Freddie.I do for those having green taxes extorted by their own governments.
wasn’t Solyndra a bigger Green Energy scam?
Yes, about $500M IIRC.
You can just look at the Wayde McKelvy guy and tell he’s a car-salesman/snake-oil/faith-healer-type fraudster.
…probably in high demand in the green startup biz.
But it gave the investors a good feeling and you can’t put a price on feelings can you so what’s all the fuss about?
Perhaps Wragg should have driven a Tesla instead of the Merc if you really want to be picky. OK OK a Prius and ‘Oh what a feeling!’.
This is true “Climate Justice’.
It’s another day in the afterlife of win-the-day Clintons. Their whole political career was built on the dirty details trailing well behind the front end hype machine.
It’s amazing they never had major federal grants and loans from Obama and associated program-feeder cronies.
Or did they?
A consideration of a 54 million in damages in USA due to a deception scheme consisting as a 30 months prison time sentence at the end,
begs the question of what the sentencing in the same condition will be in the consideration of Nations like China or else…where , where and.what the sentence will be within the clause of damages to the way of life of citizens in these other places in this world could be, other then within the consideration USA tolerance for such as crimes!!!???
Any guesses what the end of such deceptive mavericks will be???
Outside the USA national and institutional grace and tolerance considered as per some strange human merit?
Let’s do the math: $37 million “remaining” of the $54 million taken in, less the $6 million recovered from the scammers, less the $0.8 million placed into receivership, leaves an total of $30.2 that is currently missing. Assuming that “missing” money has been divided equally among the three main players in this criminal saga and is secreted away in offshore banks, bearer bonds, foreign securities, etc., beyond the reach of law enforcement, each of them stands to have access up to some $10 million after just 2.5 years in a minimum security—more like a country club-style—prison, not accounting for possible earnings on that money in the interim.
Not a bad gig if you can get it.
Famous movie lines updated to green scam era……
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Green Biochar.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in Green Biochar. Think about it. Will you think about it?
All of this talk about Conmen, and I suppose women too, I would recommend our readers to obtain a copy of a very good Science fiction book called “The stainless steel rat”. It says it all, and its a very good read too.