Pleasant Hill Man Sentenced to 6.5 Years in Prison for Billion Dollar DC Solar Ponzi Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ryan Guidry, 45, of Pleasant Hill, was sentenced today to six years and six months 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 Jan. 14, 2020, Guidry 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 solar generators that were mounted on trailers known as mobile solar generator units (MSG). 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, 52, Paulette Carpoff, 49, 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 more solar generators than they manufactured 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, 9,000 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, Guidry worked at DC Solar from 2012 through 2019 and became Vice President of Operations by 2015. Guidry understood DC Solar’s business model and knew that investors were being defrauded. Guidry accepted $1 million that he knew came from deceived investors to get a signature on a false lease contract, and split another $20,000 in cash with Alan Hansen, 51, of Vacaville, an employee of a telecom company for forging a signature on a related agreement. Guidry fabricated a spreadsheet of fictitious MSG locations, and then Guidry and Jeff Carpoff moved MSGs to their supposed operation sites the day before or even the day of investor inspections. This was done to trick investors into believing that the MSGs had been deployed at those sites all along, when the opposite was true.
In 2017 and 2018 when DC Solar was no longer making the MSGs it was selling, Guidry scraped old VIN stickers off of MSGs and put new ones on them at DC Solar warehouses in Benicia and Las Vegas, working with Jeff Carpoff and others. The VIN switching was to trick investors during inspections into believing that MSGs associated with the transaction under inspection existed and could be found at the locations the company had asserted.
This case was 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 prosecuted the case.
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 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and money laundering, and on June 28, 2022, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison.
On Nov. 16, 2021, Joseph W. Bayliss, 47, 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, 56, of Clayton, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $624 million. On May 31, 2022, Alan Hansen was sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and aiding and abetting money laundering.
Ronald J. Roach, 55, of Walnut Creek, pleaded guilty to criminal offenses related to the fraud scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14, 2023. Roach faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years prison. The actual sentence, 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.
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