The owner of DC Solar, a Benicia-based company, was sentenced Tuesday for a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme in the biggest criminal fraud case in the history of the Eastern District of California, federal officials announced.
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez sentenced Jeff Carpoff, 50, of Martinez, to 30 years in prison.
The case, complex, with a lot of moving parts, also involved a 50-year-old Vacaville man who accepted a $1 million bribe to sign a false contract, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a press statement.
He said court records show that on Jan. 24, 2021, Carpoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. His wife, Paulette Carpoff, 47, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and money laundering.
Talbert said the government’s investigation yielded some $120 million in assets forfeited that the government intends to seek authorization to use toward restitution for victims of the fraud.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2018, DC Solar manufactured mobile solar generator units, called MSG for short, 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 because the generators relied on solar power, noted Talbert.
Carpoff and others carried out an accounting-and-lease-revenue fraud using…