in Houston, Texas
See affidavits in stimulus fraud case; accused had inside track to obtain millions for nonexistent wind turbine technology
Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011, 05:01PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
wind turbine

Back in 2010, Mary Jo Woodall assured Charlie Malouff,  “There’s money in wind.”

The money, $2 million of it, blew in instead on Woodall’s insider ability to navigate one of the many channels running from an $862 billion pool of federal stimulus money, according to their arrest warrant affidavits. You can find them here and here.

Woodall, 55, of Cedar Park, and Charles Anthony Malouff Jr., 53, of Jonestown, have been charged with felony deception to secure the execution of a document, a legal term to describe their allegedly successful gambit to secure funding for wind turbine technology that did not exist.

The state Comptroller, whose Energy Conservation Office was the conduit through which the $2 million flowed, has fired Woodall, the office’s grant administrator, and is scrambling to try to get the money back, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman. The affidavits identify more than $965,000 in checks deposited into accounts in the names of companies set up by Malouff.

Gregg Cox, a Travis County assistant district attorney, told the Statesman there may be other arrests made in connection with the scheme. According to the affidavits, Dan Dodson, city manager of Jonestown, took part in erecting part of this stimulus pipeline.

When it was made known to Dodson the grant he had worked on was based on a phony premise he said defrauding the government was “an oxymoron” and that he was not going to “lose sleep” over “a little white lie to get a grant,” according to the affidavits. Dodson said he intended to follow through on the grant “as a favor to Charlie.”

The state has investigated allegations of fraud in other stimulus programs, in particular the troubled $326 million Weatherization Assistance Program followed from its inception by Texas Watchdog.

In August the head of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs in charge of the weatherization program resigned. In addition to allegations of fraud and mismanagement, the program had problems generating permanent jobs and spending money quickly enough to actually be an economic stimulus.
 
***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of wind turbine by flickr user Christiaan Conover, used via a Creative Commons license.
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