Florida Man Pleads Guilty in $28 Million Solar Farm Ponzi Scheme
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- December 17, 2018 – Christopher B. Warren, 50, of Anthony, Florida pleaded guilty Friday to one count of mail fraud and one count of securities fraud for operating a $28 million Ponzi scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Warren was the founder and chief investment officer of Clean Energy Advisors (CEA), a company registered in Wyoming with offices in Nashville, Florida, and other locations.
Warren admitted Friday in U.S. District Court, that CEA recruited sixty investors for its private investment funds: Utility Solar IV and Utility Income Fund. To attract investors, Warren claimed that CEA owned working solar farms throughout the state of North Carolina. Warren further claimed that Duke Power agreed to purchase the energy produced by CEA’s farms and that he would use the revenue to pay dividends to investors. To hide the fraud, Warren created phone audited financial statements and made regular Ponzi payments to select investors. As the scheme was uncovered, Warren told investors he would repay the principal investments pending the imminent sale of the company to a foreign purchaser. Warren admitted that no sale ever occurred or would materialize. To date, at least $15 million is still owed to investors.
Warren faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $5,000,000 and three years of supervised release, when he is sentenced on March 8, 2019.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie N. Toussaint is prosecuting the case.