3 charged in $54 million green-energy Ponzi scheme based on trash-to-fuel promise

Markets Associated Press

Prosecutors have charged three people with running a $54 million Ponzi scheme they say was built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel that they never developed.

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Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia unsealed an indictment Thursday against 34-year-old Troy Wragg, formerly of Philadelphia, 32-year-old Amanda Knorr, of Pennsylvania, and 52-year-old Wayde McKelvy, of Colorado. They were charged with wire and securities fraud and conspiracy.

It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.

Prosecutors say they 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.

Wragg and Knorr were ordered to pay $37 million each after losing a Securities and Exchange Commission civil suit in 2012.