SACRAMENTO — A California electrician was ordered Tuesday to pay $481.3 million in restitution as part of his sentence for participating in a $1 billion Ponzi scheme that suckered Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., among many others.
Joseph W. Bayliss, 46, of Martinez, was sentenced to three years in federal prison on top of the restitution.
He was an electrician who prosecutors say was hired by Benicia-based DC Solar to pose as a licensed engineer to inspect new mobile solar generator units that were mounted on trailers.
The company marketed the generators between 2011 and 2018 as being able to provide emergency power for cellphone companies or to provide lighting at sporting and other events.
But the owners started telling investors they could benefit from federal tax credits by leasing the generators back to DC Solar, which would then provide them to other companies for their use, prosecutors say.
The generators never provided much income, and prosecutors say 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 really exist.
They say Bayliss played a key role in covering up the fact that no new generators were being built. He signed thousands of reports from 2016 to 2018 saying that new generators had been inspected and tested, when he knew that was false and would be used to defraud…