Originally posted on CleanTechnica
You would think everybody would be on board with making the world a better place. Yet there are those who have been convinced, whether by propaganda or profit margin, that the world should rely on fossil fuels for as long as possible.
As if that’s not bad enough, there are always swindlers looking to take advantage of civic-minded government programs. The Chicago Tribune reported that the two executives behind electric car charging station company 350Green have been formally charged with fraud by a federal judge. That won’t do much to fix the city’s unfinished and malfunctioning charging infrastructure though.
350Green first came on the scene in 2011, when government officials at the city, state, and national level offered money for public charging infrastructure programs. Mariana Gerzanych and Timothy Mason managed to secure about $1.9 million from the city of Chicago, promising to install 280 charging stations in the greater metro area. As part of the deal, 350Green had to raise $6.8 million of cash of its own, but it never came anywhere close to that number. Even so, 350Green kept the charade up for a couple of years, celebrating the launch of “America’s largest charging network” with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in 2012
Instead Gerzanych, 36, and Mason, 57, wrote checks but never sent them to contractors, and submitted fake invoices to the government for charging stations overpaid-for through a company created by Gerzanych. When the FBI raided 350Green’s headquarters, it found $4.3 million in unsent checks. A judge eventually handed control of the 169 completed (though not necessarily functioning) to JNS Power & Control Systems, the contractor that actually installed about 40% of the charging stations. JNS later sold the stations to NRG eVgo, a subsidiary of the NRG solar panel company.
Considering how much money the government lost on Fisker’s failed plug-in hybrid, I’d say the city of Chicago got off relatively light. It’s one thing to fail due to incompetence, because at least you failed honestly. But if these accusations hold up in court, it would seem to imply that 350Green was both incompetent and dishonest from the get-go.
Considering how many legitimate operations may have been denied that same funding, Chicago-area EV owners must be left with the feeling of “What if?”