Acton couple charged over asking for $50M federal wind farm grants

BY Zachary Comeau

An Acton couple are charged with fraudulently applying for federal reimbursements for a wind farm they never built.

An Acton couple are facing 30 years in prison after filing for more than $50 million in grants from the 2009 federal stimulus bill meant to spur the economy out of the Great Recession, in order to reimburse themselves for wind farm and biofuel projects the U.S. Department of Justice claims never happened. 
Christopher Condron, 45, and Jessica Metivier, 41, face three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government 
They were released on conditions in federal court in Boston Thursday, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The couple are alleged to have submitted fraudulent application to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provided tax-free grants to individuals and businesses who utilize wind farms and gasification systems to convert trash into electricity.
Over a four-year period from May 2009 to June 2013, the couple submitted grant applications on behalf of four different companies: Acton Bio Energy, Concord Nurseries, Kansas Green Energy and Ocean Wave Energy, the government alleges.
The indictment states on each application, the couple falsely claimed Metivier and her associated businesses had acquired, placed into service or started construction of energy property, including three biofuel gasification systems allegedly built at a cost of $88 million and another $84 million wind farm project.
The couple applied to be reimbursed for more than $50 million for costs prosecutors say they never incurred. They received grants for more than $8 million, according to a statement.