Hot air instead of wind: prison sentences for fraud | Free press


In a lawsuit over fraudulent wind energy contracts, the Osnabrück District Court sentenced him to several years in prison. A 32-year-old former businessman was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison, and his 65-year-old business partner and co-president was sentenced to 7 years.

Three other defendants were sentenced to terms ranging from 3 years to 3 years and 7 months’ imprisonment for complicity. The verdict is not final yet, an appeal may be lodged. (Ref: 2 KLs 1/21)

The court found it proven that the five accused had defrauded three foreign state-owned energy companies for around 10 million euros through gangs and companies. The gang forged documents that led customers to believe that there were non-existent wind farms in Lower Saxony. Cases from 2019-2020 have been negotiated.

First real bargains, then imaginary ones

Chief judge Norbert Carstensen said the main defendants had been working with a renewable energy company since 2015. They were looking for suitable land for wind energy projects and concluded appropriate contracts for the construction of wind farms. “They had a good reputation,” said Carstensen. The entrepreneurs managed to promote a real project. However, during 2017, business became increasingly difficult due to growing resistance to establishing wind farms. At the end of 2017, the company fell into a liquidity crisis.

As a result, the 32-year-old defendant and his business partner, acting as the financial director, decided to earn money on fictitious wind energy projects. “Customers should get exactly what they were looking for,” said Carstensen. The perpetrators were deliberately looking for foreign energy companies, as domestic companies would more easily see through the scam.

The perpetrators acted in a collaborative manner. The main defendant, who proved to be charismatic, recruited clients and designed projects, and his partner, as a solid financial expert, provided the necessary trust.

false documents

According to the court, the 29-year-old brother, his 27-year-old sister and the 55-year-old mother were guilty of help and incitement. The gang forged documents regarding the purchase of land or the designation of land for wind farms, as well as letters from energy companies in the region that dealt with introducing wind energy to the power grid.

Some of these documents were so poorly executed that it is surprising that the forgery was not noticed when contract documents were checked by large well-paid law firms. The feeling is that the lost sums were just “peas” for damaged utilities, Carstensen said. The companies noticed the fraud only after the prosecutor’s investigation.

The accused pleaded guilty to the charges at the hearing, which speaks in their favor – said the judge. The court also recognized remorse. The defense did not delay the proceedings with numerous requests for evidence. The process took over 30 days of negotiation. (dpa)

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