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Former executive gets prison for $1 billion solar fraud

Justice (FILE)
Posted at 6:57 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 21:57:39-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former executive of a California solar power company was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $620 million in restitution for his role in a $1 billion fraud scheme, federal prosecutors said.

Alan Hansen, of Vacaville, pleaded guilty in 2020 to conspiracy and money laundering charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Hansen, 51, worked for DC Solar, a company based in Benicia in the San Francisco Bay Area that marketed mobile solar generator units. The firm touted the units mounted on trailers as being able to provide emergency power for cellphone companies or to provide lighting at sporting and other events.

But the company executives started telling investors they could benefit from federal tax credits by buying the generators and leasing them back to DC Solar, which would then provide them to other companies for their use, prosecutors said.

The generators never provided much income, and prosecutors say the company ran a Ponzi scheme, in which early investors were paid with funds from later investors.

The company eventually stopped building the mobile generators altogether, and prosecutors say a least half the company’s claimed 17,000 generators didn’t exist.

Hansen had previously worked for a telecom company that did business with DC Solar. In that role, he accepted $1 million from co-conspirators at DC solar to fraudulently sign a false leasing contract for the generators, prosecutors said.

Then Hansen joined DC Solar, where he signed false agreements relating to the earlier contract, according to court documents.

DC Solar founder Jeff Carpoff was sentenced last November to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $790.6 million in restitution for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

The company's chief financial officer, Robert Karmann, was sentenced in April to to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay $624 million in restitution.

Other defendants have pleaded guilty to criminal offenses related to the fraud scheme and are scheduled for sentencing, prosecutors said.