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Owner of firm in electric car charging station fraud gets 2 years

Tim Mason | Sun-Times file photo from 2011.

A California businessman who conned $1 million out of the city of Chicago was sentenced to two years in federal prison Friday after pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May.

Timothy Mason, was co-owner of 350Green LLC, which was contracted by the city Department of Transportation to install and maintain charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles, according to the city’s Office of the Inspector General

A grand jury indicted Mason, 59, and Mariana Gerzanych, 38, in March 2015 for scamming local governments, including Chicago, out of $2.9 million.

CEO of 350Green, Mariana Gerzanych | Sun-Times file photo

Their green tech start-up company falsely claimed the pair’s other company, Actium Power, had supplied it with Level 3 DC fast chargers, according to the indictment.

Actium had not supplied the chargers, and the company that did was never paid, the charged alleged. Further, 350Green filed paperwork in Chicago that falsely claimed it had paid subcontractors and vendors.

Gerzanych and Mason managed to scam money out of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and two entities in California: the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Association of Bay Area Governments, according to the feds.

When Mason pleaded guilty to wire fraud in front of U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, he faced up to 63 months in prison.

As part of his plea, Mason admitted he defrauded the city of Chicago out of more than $1 million. He also faces one year of supervised release. A restitution hearing was set for October 12.

The feds previously struck an agreement with Gerzanych to defer prosecution for two years, during which she must pay a $10,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service. She also agreed to cooperate with any other federal investigation.

If Gerzanych behaves for two years, the feds have agreed to dismiss the charges.