Vacaville Man Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison for Billion Dollar DC Solar Ponzi Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alan Hansen, 51, of Vacaville, was sentenced today to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $619,415,950 in restitution for participating in a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme involving DC Solar, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
On July 23, 2020, Hansen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and aiding and abetting money laundering.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2018, DC Solar manufactured mobile solar generator units (MSG), solar generators that were mounted on trailers. The company touted the versatility and environmental sustainability of the mobile solar generators and claimed that they were used to provide emergency power to cellphone towers and lighting at sporting and other events. Jeff Carpoff, 51, Paulette Carpoff, 51, both of Martinez, and their co-conspirators solicited investors by claiming that there were favorable federal tax benefits associated with investments in alternative energy. They sold solar generators that did not exist to investors, making it appear that solar generators existed in locations that they did not, creating false financial statements, and obtaining false lease contracts, among other efforts to conceal the fraud. In reality, at least half of the approximately 17,000 solar generators claimed to have been manufactured by DC Solar did not exist and DC Solar paid early investors with funds contributed by later investors.
According to court documents, Hansen was an employee of a telecom company with which DC Solar had done some limited business. In that role, Hansen accepted $1 million from co-conspirators at DC Solar to fraudulently sign a false contract reflecting a much greater amount of supposed business leasing MSGs. Hansen’s co‑conspirators used that false contract to induce substantial investments by victims in DC Solar. After signing the contract, Hansen took a job at DC Solar at a significant pay increase and left his former employment. Later, as a DC Solar executive, Hansen and a co-conspirator agreed to share $20,000 cash from Jeff Carpoff to sign a false agreement related to the earlier contract by forging the signature of a former telecom company employee. Hansen’s co-conspirators used the false contract and forged agreement to induce still further payments by victims for MSGs. Hansen was paid for signing the first false contract through a series of interstate wire transfers into an account he set up in the name of a consulting company. Hansen knew the money he received came from payments by DC Solar investors, and that DC Solar was deceiving them to induce those payments.
On Nov. 9, 2021, Jeff Carpoff was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $790.6 million in restitution for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. His wife Paulette Carpoff has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and money laundering, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, 2022.
On Nov. 16, 2021, Joseph W. Bayliss, 46, of Martinez, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $481.3 million in restitution for securities fraud and conspiracy in connection with the DC Solar scheme. On April 12, 2022, DC Solar CFO Robert A. Karmann, 55, of Clayton, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $624 million.
Other defendants have pleaded guilty to criminal offenses related to the fraud scheme and are scheduled for sentencing: Ronald J. Roach, 55, of Walnut Creek, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, 2022; and Ryan Guidry, 45, of Pleasant Hill, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7, 2022.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher S. Hales and Kevin C. Khasigian are prosecuting the case.
Paulette Carpoff and Guidry face a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison. Roach faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years prison. The actual sentences, however, will 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.