California couple pleads guilty to plotting $1B Ponzi scheme

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The owners of a San Francisco Bay Area solar energy company have pleaded guilty to charges that they plotted a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $1 billion.

Prosecutors said Jeff and Paulette Carpoff began DC Solar, based in Benicia, as a legitimate company that made solar generators but it morphed into a fraud scheme that duped people into investing millions on a product that never provided much income.

Among the investors was Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which lost some $340 million.

As part of their plea deal, the husband and wife agreed to forfeit over $120 million in assets, including a fleet of collector cars and vacation homes purchased with cash.