Money

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - A Florida man was sentenced in Nashville to nine years in Federal Prison on Monday for running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. 

50-year-old Christopher B. Warren was charged in a 12-count indictment in July 2018, and pleaded guilty to mail fraud and securities fraud in December 2018.

On top of the sentencing, a judge also ordered him to pay more than $15M in restitution. 

Warren was the founder and chief investment officer of Clean Energy Advisors (CEA). From November 2013 through September 2017, Warren operated a scheme aimed at defrauding investors by offering investment opportunities in solar farm projects believed to be owned by CEA.

Warren said CEA owned working solar signs throughout North Carolina and also claimed Duke Power agreed to purchase the energy CEA farms produced. 

He claimed he would use the revenue to pay dividends in order to attract investors. He recruited 60 investors for its private investment funds and made several false misrepresentations, including the CEA owned numerous solar farms and made millions of dollars selling solar energy to utility companies, knowing CEA had no earnings, profits and contracts with any utility company. 

Warren provided investors with a list of solar farms CEA claimed to own, many of which did not exist and others owned by other companies.

To cover it all up, Warren made phone audited financial statements and regular Ponzi payments to select investors. Once investigators discovered the scheme, Warren told them he would repay the principal investments pending the sale of the company to a foreign purchaser; no sale could have ever materialized. 

Throughout the duration of the scheme, Warren raised about $28 million from investors and used around $7 million for personal and family benefits. He caused investors to lose more than $15 million. 

WSMV.com is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

>> Click/tap here to download our free mobile app. <<


Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Producer

A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send Ethan story ideas, food recommendations and sports debate topics to Ethan.Illers@wsmv.com and follow him on Twiiter @ethanWSMV!

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.