SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Jeff Carpoff, owner of Benicia-based DC Solar, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Tuesday in a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme that he used to finance luxury homes and automobiles, the purchase of a minor league baseball team and a sponsorship of a NASCAR team.
Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert called the case one of the biggest criminal fraud schemes in San Francisco Bay Area history
Carpoff pleaded guilty in January to federal conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering charges. His wife, Paulette, also has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison when she is sentenced.
The government’s investigation has resulted in approximately $120 million in assets forfeited that the government intends to seek authorization to use towards restitution to victims of the fraud.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2018, DC Solar manufactured mobile solar generator units, which were solar generators that were mounted on trailers and 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 project.
But investigators said Carpoff and his fellow conspirators sold solar generators that did not exist to the investors, making it appear that…