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Friday, May 18, 2007

AstroPower Saga Continues: Fraud Claims Referred to FBI

Former AstroPower Execs Allen Barnett and Thomas Stiner agreed to pay $1 million USD to settle shareholder lawsuits without admitting culpability


The ever trustworthy Steven Church, now with Bloomberg News, reported on the latest developments in AstroPower fraud claims go to FBI, judge rules reprinted in delawareonline: The News Journal. Typical for this saga, there has been a dearth of press coverage.

In Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. ruled the fraud allegations against AstroPower company founder and CEO Allen M. Barnett and CFO Thomas J. Stiner should be referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Attorneys were ordered to supply the names of former AstroPower employees who have accused Barnett and Stiner of misstating AstroPower revenues and inventories to the FBI.

At a Federal court hearing on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, Judge Farnan said:

There are 10 people with information about possible misconduct, and as far as we know there is no law enforcement investigation.

However, Judge Farnan also said he didn't know whether the FBI and the U.S. attorney would pursue an investigation.

Per Jennifer Enck, a plaintiff attorney with Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP, about 1500 AstroPower shareholders have filed claims for the settlement. Less attorney fees and expenses of about $335,000, shareholders might net $0.10 (10 cents) per share depending on the final number of claims.

If you need background on the AstroPower Saga, please see my previous posts:

Peter Aschenbrenner under SEC investigation in AstroPower Saga
AstroPower: Decline of a solar photovoltaic star remains an untold tragedy?

So far, I have not seen any updates on the SEC investigation of Mr. Aschenbrenner, nor have I seen any new disclosures in recent SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) SEC filings.

Perhaps the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FBI need to join investigative efforts in this matter?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Edgar A. Gunther said...

One thing I forgot to mention. An astute Blog reader alerted me to this development.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the FBI does get involved and this comes to some closure. Amazingly Mr Barnet just secured 12 million form the DOE for a duPont UofD joint venture. Here we go again...

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007707240341
Article about the above statement.

12:13 PM  

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