Executives of a Pennsylvania green energy company singled out for praise by Bill Clinton were arrested on fraud charges on Thursday in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme.
The 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.
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. […]
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.
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.