Acton woman sentenced for defrauding the Treasury Department of over $50 million in tax free energy grants

 

Date: February 26, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Boston — An Acton woman was sentenced today in connection with her role in defrauding the U.S. Treasury Department of more than $50 million in tax free energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Jessica Metivier was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to one year of probation. In September 2020, Metivier pleaded guilty to attempts to interfere with administration of internal revenue laws.

In August 2017, Metivier was charged with her partner, Christopher N. Condron. Condron has pleaded not guilty and is pending trial.

Condron, using Metivier's name, submitted fraudulent applications to the Treasury Department for energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act provided tax-free grants to individuals and businesses who put certain "specified energy property"—such as wind farms and gasification systems that convert trash into electricity—into service in a trade or business.

From May 2009 to June 2013, Condron, using Metivier's name, submitted fraudulent grant applications to the Treasury Department on behalf of four different Massachusetts companies: Acton Bio Energy, Concord Nurseries, Kansas Green Energy and Ocean Wave Energy. According to the indictment, for each of the applications, Condron falsely claimed that Metivier and her entities had acquired, placed into service, or started construction of energy property, which included three different bio-fuel gasification systems, purportedly built at a cost of approximately $88 million, and an $84 million wind farm project. Condron sought to be reimbursed for more than $50 million based on those costs—which the indictment alleges they never actually incurred—and received grants totaling more than $8 million.

In an attempt to cover up Condron's wrongdoing, Metivier provided false information to agents investigating the grant applications. Metivier, for example, falsely claimed that Concord Nurseries paid $26 million for the claimed gasifier. She also claimed she first met Condron through the Acton Bio transaction, when in fact they were a couple living together.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation in Boston made the announcement today. The U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil J. Gallagher, Jr. and Elysa Wan of Lelling's Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.