Founder of Former NASCAR Sponsor DC Solar Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

DC Solar founder and owner Jeff Carpoff was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison for masterminding a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Carpoff had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. He will also have to repay the victims. Prosecutors called it the largest criminal fraud scheme in California’s Eastern District history. About $120 million in assets were forfeited.

“He claimed to be an innovator in alternative energy, but he was really just stealing money from investors and costing US taxpayers hundreds of millions in tax credits,” said acting US attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “Today’s significant punishment reflects the seriousness of the crime and provides for a just punishment. The US Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the public and promoting respect for the law.”

Carpoff, through his DC Solar company, partnered with Chip Ganassi in 2015 to serve as a sponsor of Ganassi’s Xfinity Series program. Over the years, DC Solar expanded into other series, such as a primary on Ganassi cars in the Cup Series and the Camping World Truck Series (on a GMS Racing truck) when Kyle Larson took them to the win track in Eldora in 2016. brought.

Larson won three Xfinity Series races with DC on the car in 2018 at Las Vegas, Daytona and Bristol. Ross Chastain won the second race with them in Lass Vegas, his first win of his career.

It became a feel-good story from then on when Ganassi and DC Solar announced a full-season partnership in November 2018 to let Ross Chastain go full-time in the Xfinity Series. But the story turned ugly a month later when the FBI raided DC Solar’s offices and the subsequent end of the deal forced Ganassi to shut the team down.

DC Solar had also supplied mobile solar lighting solutions, EV chargers and power plants to numerous race tracks. When Phoenix Raceway was undergoing a $178 million modernization project, one of the fan facilities was named the DC Solar Power Pavilion.

The forfeiture included the seizure and auction of 148 luxury and collector’s vehicles, raising approximately $8.233 million. Carpoff also owned a minor league baseball team; paid for a subscription to a private jet service; a suite in a professional football stadium; jewelery; and luxury real estate in California, Nevada, the Caribbean, Mexico and elsewhere.

“Mr. Carpoff lived a luxurious life as a successful businessman,” said Special Commander Mark H. Pearson. “In reality, he manipulated the system in his favor by lying to investors, promising significant federal tax credits, and whitewashing his ill-gotten gains. Wash.”

Carpoff’s wife Paulette pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme. She is due to appear in court next week.

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