SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alan Hansen, 49, of Vacaville, pleaded guilty Tuesday to his participation in a massive fraud scheme through DC Solar, a solar energy company in Benicia formerly owned and operated by Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, that defrauded investors of approximately $1 billion, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
Those losses resulted from investment transactions in solar energy hardware valued at approximately $2.5 billion. Hansen also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting money laundering. Hansen is the seventh person to plead guilty to federal criminal charges relating to the fraud scheme since October 2019. The Carpoffs pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud conspiracy and other charges in January 2020.
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. The Carpoffs and their co-conspirators solicited investors by claiming that there were favorable federal tax benefits associated with investments in alternative energy. The conspirators pulled off their scheme by selling 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 business and executed certain contracts. In that role, Hansen accepted $1 million from co-conspirators at DC Solar to fraudulently sign a false contract those co‑conspirators later used to induce investments by victims. Thereafter, 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 to sign a false contract related to the earlier agreement, using a fake name. The conspirators also used that false contract to induce an investment by victims. 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 was paid came from payments by DC Solar investors, and that DC Solar was deceiving them to induce those payments. Nevertheless, Hansen provided a co-conspirator with information to complete those wire transfers, intending to commit money laundering.
Joseph W. Bayliss, 44, of Martinez, and Ronald J. Roach, of Walnut Creek, each pleaded guilty to related charges on Oct. 22, 2019. Robert A. Karmann, 53, of Clayton, pleaded guilty to related charges on Dec. 17, 2019. Ryan Guidry, 53, of Pleasant Hill, pleaded guilty to related charges on Jan. 14. Jeff and Paulette Carpoff pleaded guilty to related charges on Jan. 24 and are scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 10. The investigation into the fraud remains ongoing.
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 André M. Espinosa and Kevin C. Khasigian are prosecuting the case.
Hansen is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on Nov. 3. Hansen faces a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in 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.