“Every great once in a while a bad apple pops up, even in the world of solar power where competition among installers and developers helps keep people honest. That’s the case yesterday when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced fraud charges against MSGI Technology Solutions and its CEO J. Jeremy Barbera.
For individual consumers it’s important to remember that disreputable companies are not the norm in the solar industry. When vying for customer dollars among strong competition, they can’t afford to be. However by talking with neighbors, multiple solar installers and checking reviews of installers’ performance from actual customers, like the reviews hosted at SolarReviews.com consumers can avoid fraudulent businesses like MSGI.
The SEC is alleging that MSGI and Barbera defrauded investors by claiming they had a joint venture under which they would develop solar farms across the country on land owned by an electricity provider operated by Christopher Plummer. “Barbera and Plummer co-authored press releases falsely portraying MSGI as a successful renewable energy company on the brink of profitable solar energy projects,” the SEC said. “However, MSGI had no operations, customers, or revenue at the time, and Plummer’s company did not actually possess any of the assets or financing needed to develop the purported solar energy farms.”
“It is vital that information disseminated by a company into the marketplace be corroborated and truthful,” said Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “Barbera caused MSGI to issue press releases baselessly touting nonexistent assets and phony business opportunities, which had the harmful effect of misleading investors.””
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Meehan, Chris. Solar Reviews 30 July 2014.