The owner of a solar-power company was accused Thursday of orchestrating a fraud scheme that allegedly bilked Los Angeles homeowners out of more than $1.4 million.
City Attorney Mike Feuer office has filed a civil complaint and obtained an asset freeze against Nelson Solis, the owner of Eco Solar Home Improvement, along with several affiliated entities and associates. The lawsuit claims victims were defrauded though cash payments or through loans backed by assessments on homeowners' property taxes, all made in exchange for little or no work, and through misuse of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program.
Solis could not be reached for comment.
Feuer said the allegations are "among the most devastating scams that I can recall in my career.''
In addition to the asset freeze, Feuer said he is seeking a permanent injunction, civil penalties and restitution for victims.
Solis and his companies, including Aleman Electric/Eco Solar Plus LLC, along with related businesses and individuals, including Edgmont Eco Construction, Max & Son Inc., Henry Solis, Edduy Pena, Max Ramos Hernandez and Raul Amaya, were named in the lawsuit.
The PACE program is a government program that helps property owners finance energy efficiency home improvement projects, including the installation of solar panels, through loans backed by property tax assessments.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly targeted Spanish-speaking homeowners while luring them into construction contracts and PACE loans, sometimes taking out PACE loans on behalf of homeowners without their consent. The defendants also allegedly concealed the terms and true costs of the loans, and failed to perform the work as promised.
Once the defendants received money from the PACE loans or upfront cash payments, they would abandon the projects without often having done any meaningful work, the lawsuit claims.
Feuer said the case involved 35 alleged victims.