FBI Reportedly Investigating Accounting Fraud At Solyndra

The reasoning behind those FBI search warrants of Solyndra offices and executive’s homes is becoming clear:

The FBI is investigating Solyndra LLC for possible accounting fraud and the accuracy of financial representations made to the government, according to an agency official.

The FBI is examining possible misrepresentations in financial statements, according to the FBI official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Solyndra, which made cylindrical-shaped solar panels, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 and fired about 1,100 workers with little notice, about two years after winning a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee from the Energy Department.

The company’s offices in Fremont, California, were raided by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Sept. 8. The Justice Department hasn’t said why Solyndra is being probed.

“The company is not aware of any wrongdoing by Solyndra officers, directors or employees” related to the Energy Department loan guarantees or other actions and “is cooperating fully” with the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco, according to a Sept. 20 statement from Solyndra. David Miller, a company spokesman, didn’t immediately return a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment today.

If Solyndra did misrepresent its financial condition when applying for the Department of Energy loans, or during the course of the restructuring I talked about earlier this week, then I suspect this story will become even more of a political football than it already appears to be.

 

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    So they mis-represented themselves and the administration is seeking legal recourse.
    I’m sure someone will try to make hay from it…but I don’t see why.
    Halliburton defrauded the US of more than Solyndra.

  2. samwide says:

    You know, the great irony in all this might be that Solyndra’s technology is ground-breaking:

    What set Solyndra apart from its thin-film peers was the shape of its modules. Instead of using a flat-plated panel, it coated tubes of glass with its CIGS technology and mounted the cylinders to metal frames. When installed on commercial rooftops that were painted white, the tubes could absorb direct and reflected sunlight from 360 degrees. Flat panels receive sunlight only when it shines overhead.

    Solyndra’s cylindrical modules could also be installed faster than flat panels and were highly resistant to wind. Dirt and snow can build up on traditional modules and keep out the sun. But the elements fall through the gaps in Solyndra’s rows of cylinders. [Source]

    If the technology is as viable and effective as advertised, let’s hope someone picks up the pieces.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    @Hey Norm: I think you have a point. To the extent DOE was criminally defrauded, DOE cannot be blamed.

    But it looks like there were too many discrete instances where DOE should have known better, so I doubt total exoneration here.

  4. Drew says:

    “To the extent DOE was criminally defrauded, DOE cannot be blamed.”

    Uh, er, the numbers I’ve seen show Solyndra losing profit (not just cash, mind you) of $115MM to $250MM per annum in prior years. And with a cost and pricing structure that was, shall we say, “not encouraging.” (snicker)

    Perhaps the numbers were even worse because of fraud. But if you are in my business, the business of investing in such ventures, you would, having seen the public numbers conclude – as in the line in an old Monty Python movie – “run away!! run away……..!!”

    These politically motivated exculpatory contortions are embarassingly bad.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    “…These politically motivated exculpatory contortions are embarassingly bad…”

    Yes….as proven repeatedly by Halliburton and KBR.
    Solyndra is one small piece of the green investment. Was it stupid? Yes. But it would be ridiculous to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  6. James in LA says:

    What a non-story. Trillions unfunded illegal wars? Nothing to see here. $500 million to create jobs in the U.S., and surely the anti-christ is at work.

    http://static01.mediaite.com/med/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/SolyndraVMilitary.gif

  7. reid says:

    @James in LA: Curse you, liberal media!