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Man admits to running $54M green-energy Ponzi scheme

Man admits to running $54M green-energy Ponzi scheme

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Georgia man has admitted he ran a $54 million Ponzi scheme built on false promises of green energy technology and real estate.

Troy Wragg pleaded guilty in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday to conspiracy and securities fraud.

Wragg's college girlfriend, Amanda Knorr, pleaded guilty last year. A 54-year-old securities salesman from Colorado goes on trial in September.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Livermore wrote in court filings that Wragg's Mantria Corp. didn't set out to defraud investors but began lying after the Pennsylvania-based company began having financial problems.

Prosecutors say the trio lied to investors, saying their "biochar" technology and "carbon-negative" housing in Tennessee made millions of dollars, but they had almost no earnings, and the three used the money to repay earlier investors and kept some for themselves.