Former biofuels investor sentenced for scamming $50M in tax-free energy grants

December 7, 2022 |

In Massachusetts, Christopher N. Condron was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court in Boston in connection with his role in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Treasury Department of more than $50 million in tax-free energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

Condron was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to seven years in prison and three years of supervised release. Condron was also ordered to pay $8.7 million in restitution and forfeiture. In September 2021, Condron was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and three counts of wire fraud. 

In August 2017, Condron was indicted for conspiring to submit fraudulent applications to the Treasury Department for energy grants available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act provided tax-free grants to individuals and businesses who put certain “specified energy property”—such as wind farms and gasification systems that convert trash into electricity—into service in a trade or business.

From May 2009 to June 2013, Condron and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent grant applications to the Treasury Department on behalf of four different Massachusetts companies: Acton Bio Energy; Concord Nurseries; Kansas Green Energy; and Ocean Wave Energy. For each of the applications, Condron falsely claimed that the entities had acquired, placed into service, or started construction of energy property, which included three different bio-fuel gasification systems, purportedly built at a cost of approximately $88 million, and an $84 million wind farm project. Condron and his co-conspirators sought to be reimbursed for more than $50 million based on those costs—which they never actually incurred. To support their applications, Condron submitted fraudulent documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who, in turn, submitted the applications to the Treasury Department. Evidence at trial demonstrated that Condron vastly overstated property costs in the grant applications and as a result, defrauded the government out of more than $8.7 million. Additionally, further evidence showed that Condron attempted to obtain another $42 million in energy grants.

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Category: Fuels

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