BOSTON (WWLP) – An Acton man was sentenced in federal court in Boston in connection with his scheme to cheat the U.S. Treasury Department for $50 million in tax-free energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
According to the Department of Justice, 50-year-old Christopher N. Condron was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to cheat the United States with respect to claims and with three counts of wire fraud in September 2021.
In August 2017, Condron was accused of conspiring to submit fake applications to the Treasury Department for energy grants available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act provides tax-free grants to individuals and businesses who put certain “specified energy property” like wind farms and gasification systems that convert the trash into electricity, into service in a trade or business.
Condron and his co-conspirators submitted fake grant applications to the Treasury Department on behalf of four different Massachusetts companies from May 2009 to June 2013:
- Acton BioEnergy
- Concord Nurseries
- Kansas Green Energy
- Ocean Wave Energy
For each application, Condron falsely said that the entities had acquired, placed into service, or started construction of energy property that included three different bio-fuel gasification systems, purportedly built at a cost of approximately $88 million, as well as an $84 million wind farm project.
Condron and his partners asked to be reimbursed for more than $50 million based on the costs, which they never actually suffered. Condron also submitted fake documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who submitted the applications to the Treasury Department. Evidence at a trial demonstrated that Condron overstated property costs in the grant applications and defrauded the government out of more than $8.7 million. Further evidence showed that Condron attempted to get another $42 million in energy grants.
Condron was sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of supervised release. Condron was ordered to pay $8.7 million in return.