- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman admitted her role in a $54 million Ponzi scheme that federal prosecutors say was built on promises of a green energy technology that never developed.

Amanda Knorr, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud in a scheme authorities say was built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel, The Morning Call reported (http://bit.ly/1NPTFn6).

Knorr, of Hellertown, and two men misled more than 300 investors that their “biochar” technology and “carbon-negative” housing in Tennessee made millions of dollars, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Livermore said in court filings the trio was able to raise “such fantastic sums” despite a dire economic and scientific outlook because they “presented a fantasy world to prospective investors.”

Authorities said the scam ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against their company. Knorr and one of the men charged in the case were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each.

The two men are still facing criminal charges in the case.

Knorr is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 3.

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Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com

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