Solar City Resolves False Claims Violations for Nearly $30 Million
The United States Department of Justice(DOJ) reported in September that SolarCity Corporation agreed to pay $29.5 million dollars to settle claims that they violated the False Claims Act. The U.S. DOJ asserted that the SolarCity committed fraud by inflating claims of its own and the claims of related investment funds.
The Justice Department specifically charged Solar City with violating the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) more commonly called the Recovery Act. The Recovery Act was enacted by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama to stimulate the economy after the Great Recession. The DOJ alleged that SolarCity violated Section 1603 of the Recovery Act. Section 1603 helped to subsidize the renewable energy industry by providing cash grants to reimburse qualifying energy companies.
The False Claims Act imposes liability on companies and persons who defraud government programs such as the Recovery Act.
The Section 1603 part of the Recovery Act provided cash grants in the mount of 30% of the “eligible cost basis” to buy or construct qualifying renewable solar energy systems – provided the systems were operational by December 31, 2016. Applicants for the grants were required to properly certify their request for reimbursement and to provide supporting documentation. The DOJ claimed that SolarCity submitted thousands of grant request (directly or on behalf of investment funds) that were inflated.
The investigation into SolarCity began with a referral by a staff member of the Section 1603 program. The U.S. Treasury worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue the fraudulent claims. The DOJ obtained the settlement well after the expiration date of the 1603 program. In addition to the payments of $29.5 million, Solar City and all its affiliated agreed not to pursue any other claims they had against the U.S. Government for 1603 payments. In November 2016, Telsa Motors Inc. purchased SolarCity Corporation.
If you suspect that fraud has occurred by any business or any person against any government program, you may be entitled to a percentage of any recovery provided you follow the proper disclosure procedures. For help with your whistleblower claim, please call Stephen F. Danz and Associates. We will explain your rights, help pursue your claim, and fight to get you a percentage of all recoveries that are legally authorized. For help now, please call (877)-789-9707. We see clients throughout California and have helped many whistleblowers obtain a strong recovery.