The Clinton’s are involved in another scandal. Executives of a Pennsylvania green energy company that were singled out for praise by Bill Clinton were arrested on fraud charges on Thursday in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme.
Three individuals are facing charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy over their roles in running a green energy company that authorities say was an elaborate $54 million Ponzi scheme, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors said the trio lied to investors that their “biochar” technology and “carbon-negative” housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.
Troy Wragg, 34, of Georgia; Amanda Knorr, 32, of Pennsylvania; and Wayde McKelvy, 52, of Colorado were charged with wire and securities fraud and conspiracy. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf, (AP).
The scam allegedly ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Wragg and Knorr’s Mantria Corp. They were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each.
“The scheme alleged in this indictment offered investors the best of both worlds — investing in sustainable and clean energy products while also making a profit,” U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said in a news release. “Unfortunately for the investors, it was all a hoax and they lost precious savings. These defendants preyed on the emotions of their victims and sold them a scam.” (AP)
Two months before the SEC civil lawsuit, the company was publicly recognized for its stated commitment to “help mitigate global warming” by former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative. The company was cited for its plans to develop the biochar technology that it said would sequester carbon dioxide and reduce emissions in developing countries. Wragg appeared on stage with Clinton at the event in September 2009.
McKelvy, who prosecutors say has never been licensed to sell securities, raised money through his Speed of Wealth seminars in Colorado, Las Vegas and elsewhere, including one that featured a speech from former Broncos quarterback John Elway.
McKelvy allegedly told investors that Mantria was the next Microsoft and that it was “on the cusp of a revolutionary technology that’s going to change the world, and you guys can benefit from it by putting money in and getting stinkin’ wealthy.”
Prosecutors say the housing developments that Mantria told investors would serve as collateral were never finished — the sites lacked drinking water and some may have contained unexploded artillery shells. Mantria then promised returns of more than 500 percent based on trash-to-fuel technology they said they had orders to sell.
Praise for Mantria remains on the website of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation:
Mantria Corporation commits to help mitigate global warming through the use of its Carbon Fields site, where Mantria will perform trials on their product BioChar, a carbon-negative charcoal, to prove how this product can sequester carbon dioxide, improve soil quality when buried, and reduce emissions in developing countries.