April 3, 2024

The lavish lifestyle was part of the con. Jeff Carpoff and his wife, Paulette, wanted to give investors the illusion their solar energy company in the San Francisco Bay area was thriving.

So they purchased luxury real estate in the Caribbean, Nevada, Mexico and Lake Tahoe, Calif. They bought a NASCAR racecar sponsorship, a minor-league baseball team, and a private jet, and amassed more than 150 luxury and collector vehicles — including a 1978 Firebird formerly owned by actor Burt Reynolds, according to court documents.

The catch? The money used to finance that opulent lifestyle came from cheating their investors.

Now, Carpoff, 50, is going to federal prison for 30 years for orchestrating a $1 billion Ponzi scheme, which acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert called Tuesday “the largest criminal fraud scheme in the history of the Eastern District of California.” Carpoff, who pleaded guilty in January 2020, received the maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, according to federal prosecutors.

“Mr. Carpoff lived a luxurious life as a successful businessman,” Mark Pearson, Internal Revenue Service special agent in charge, said in a news release. “In reality, he manipulated the system to his advantage by lying to investors, promising significant federal tax credits, and laundering his ill-gotten gains.”

Carpoff’s layer did not immediately respond to the Washington Post’s request for comment.

Paulette Carpoff, 47, who pleaded guilty…

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