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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 10, 2017

Six Indicted for Defrauding Solano County Energy Company Involving over $2.2M in Total Loss

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 25-count indictment on April 6, 2017, charging six defendants in connection with their various roles in defrauding an energy generation company of over $2.2 million, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. The indictment was unsealed today, and all six defendants were arraigned today on the indictment.

The defendants have been charged as follows:

  • Timothy Chapin, 38, formerly of Lathrop, is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud, 14 counts of wire fraud, and three counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • Manuel Agueros, 37, formerly of Lathrop, and Dodge City, Kansas, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • Jeffrey Reilley, 53, of Ripon, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud.

  • Paul Fournier, 34, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • Jorge Eguiluz, 46, of Stockton, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • Robert Lautenslager, 38, of Castro Valley, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the indictment, Chapin, Reilley, and Agueros all worked for a Florida-based energy generation company that operated wind farms in the Solano County town of Birds Landing in California. Chapin, a senior business technician, and supervisors Reilley and Agueros executed a scheme that caused the generation of purchase orders for parts and services not actually needed at the wind farms. Those purchase orders were sent to three Arizona-based shell companies that had been set up by Fournier; the shell companies had no facilities and provided no actual products or services. The shell companies then submitted fraudulent invoices to the energy generation company for undelivered products and unperformed services, and were paid on those invoices in an amount just under $2 million. Also according to the indictment, Chapin, Agueros, and Eguiluz engaged in a similar scheme using a company called “J. Eguiluz Labor Service LLC” as the shell company to submit fraudulent invoices and be paid on those invoices. Further still, Chapin and Lautenslager engaged in a similar scheme using a shell company set up by Lautenslager to submit fraudulent invoices and be paid on those invoices.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Nirav Desai is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering charges are subject to fines of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering transactions. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
2:17-cr-053-WBS
Updated April 13, 2017