BOSTON (WHDH) - A Stoneham police officer and his brother are charged with multiple counts of fraud after officials say they bribed a company working with the state’s Mass Save program in order to get more than $36 million in contracts, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Joseph Ponzo, 48, of Stoneham, and Christopher Ponzo, 47, of North Reading, were indicted on one count of wire fraud conspiracy and 12 counts of wire fraud. Joseph Ponzo is a police officer and Christopher Ponzo is an electrical contractor.
Mass Save is a public-private partnership funded by surcharges on Massachusetts residents’ energy bills. That money is used to fund energy efficiency programs for homeowners, who use Mass Save-approved contractors for those projects.
Officials said the Ponzos paid a Mass Save lead vendor company tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks and other items — including a John Deere tractor, a computer and home bathroom fixtures — so the vendor would help the Ponzos create companies that would then get approved as Mass Save contractors. Christopher and Joseph Ponzo allegedly collected $29 million and $7 million, respectively, through the scheme, officials said.
US Attorney Rachel Rollins said the brothers were motivated by greed orchestrating a corrupt scheme to line their pockets with money.
Ponzo has been placed on administrative leave.
The pair could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, officials said. They were scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court Friday.
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