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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Three Charged in $2M Investment Fraud Scheme

PITTSBURGH, PA – One Ohio resident and two Pennsylvania men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

The six-count Indictment, returned on May 25 and unsealed today, named Kevin Carney, 59, of Euclid, OH 44123, Jonathan Freeze, 62, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA, and Robert Irey, 59, of Clarksville, PA 15322, as defendants.

According to the Indictment, the defendants offered victims an opportunity to loan funds to their company, Alternative Energy Holdings, LLC, on a short-term basis and at a high rate of return. The defendants falsely represented that the funds would be used for expenses associated with building a plant that would be capable of turning certain types of waste into energy. The defendants, however, used the majority of the funds for their own personal use and enjoyment. Approximately 22 victims lent approximately $2,017,228.44 to the defendants, but only $63,000 was repaid. The repayments, however, were made using other victims’ loan proceeds.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison for each count, a fine of $250,000 for each count or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. A Magistrate Judge granted the government's request for $50,000 unsecured bond for each defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Lee J. Karl is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated June 2, 2021