Service of Hints of Swindle: 148 Luxury Cars a Clue?

January 30th, 2020

Categories: Uncategorized

Photo: thebalance.com

I wonder how Joe and Jane Citizen get by unscathed when Jeff Bezos’s phone is hacked and Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, falls for a Ponzi scheme to the tune of $340 million.

“Jeff and Paulette Carpoff, who began raising money in 2011, admitted to a scam that involved swindling sophisticated corporate investors who earned valuable federal tax credits for helping finance a renewable-energy business. Authorities seized and auctioned off 148 luxury vehicles owned by the Carpoffs, including a 1978 Pontiac Firebird once owned by Burt Reynolds.” Dave Michaels wrote this in “Owners of Solar Company That Swindled Berkshire Hathaway Admit to Running Ponzi Scheme,” in The Wall Street Journal. The Carpoffs company: DC Solar Solutions Inc.

The attractive tax credit promised in the deal–30 percent–almost covered the initial investment. “The investors generally assumed an obligation to contribute millions more to the business through promissory notes, the SEC’s lawsuit says,” according to Michaels. Berkshire Hathaway “reversed income tax benefits it had earlier recognized.”

Photo: gr.pinterest.com

“’By all outer appearances this was a legitimate and successful company,’ said Kareem Carter, special agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation in Northern California. “But in reality it was all just smoke and mirrors—a Ponzi scheme touting tax benefits to the tune of over $900 million.’”

The Carpoff’s attorney said that they turned to the dark side–doing illegal things–to save the company. It started out legit.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission also sued the Carpoffs in a civil complaint filed in Sacramento. The SEC said the couple, whose business is in bankruptcy, siphoned off at least $140 million of investor funds to pay for their personal expenses, which included the sports cars, dozens of properties, and a share in a private jet service.”

Have you fallen for something that’s too good to be true? [My medicine chest is filled with face creams that promise to remove wrinkles.] Do you think that investors should look into the private lives of management which, in this case, would have revealed a spendthrift lifestyle which is the opposite of Warren Buffett’s.  Buffett still lives in the home he bought in the 1960s.

Photo: pymnts.com

3 Responses to “Service of Hints of Swindle: 148 Luxury Cars a Clue?”

  1. BC Said:

    Scams everywhere at different levels of the status structure.

  2. AKS Said:

    If you have the Times business section from Sunday, you should read about the “cum-ex” scandal that has engulfed many Western European nations to the tune of billions of taxpayers’ money. The original protagonists, both working for financial institutions, are now on trial, but the loopholes they crawled through to steal enormous quantities of money are breathtakingly complex and quite difficult to understand.

    What people will do to avoid paying taxes is beyond belief…makes me wonder if all of us, governments included, should try a little harder to live more reasonably within our means.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    We have recently had experience with three business scams of various levels of sophistication and complexity. 0ne was a rather small scale transaction that became suspicious when requesting the use of a specific shipping courier for an amount far greater than the value of the purchase. But a belated check with a foreign government trade office gave warnings although not definitive conclusions. The second was far more elaborate with a falsified website, false officials, delays, false financial records and assistance from our bank. Most distressing was complete lack of assistance and a strodose of cynicism from the Boston Honorary Consuls of the country of origin of the scam. Our most recent meat scam was by a purported web design firm which also employs images of fake executives etc. However, their contract Offer contained grammatical errors , endless repetition of the same concepts and no real guarantees. That caused me to cancel all and any payments moments after their request for payment. Interestingly, the scammer get persisting by phone until confronted. We all have to be endlessly en garde before conducting any commerce via email, phone, websites etc. The global nature of scams and the enormous range of complexity mean constant vigilance and mistrust. Ther does not seem to be any relief in sight.

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