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Wednesday, Jul 6, 2022

Encino’s Eco Tech Allegedly Involved in PACE Fraud

Home energy equipment provider Eco Tech in Encino has been barred from participating in the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE, after the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation discovered the business had allegedly signed up customers fraudulently for the program.PACE is a financing program that allows homeowners to buy clean energy equipment for their homes. Public agencies provide the financing as a lien-secured special assessment to the homeowner’s property tax. If a program participant does not pay the assessment, the financing agency can enforce the lien through foreclosure.The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which licenses and regulates third-party companies to install equipment and work out PACE contracts, found Eco Tech had involved 22 homeowners in the PACE program either without their knowledge or under false pretenses.Eco Tech sales agents allegedly told prospective customers the energy products were part of a free government program. In reality, they came with liens of between $20,000 and $30,000, resulting in property tax bill increases of several thousand dollars for each customer.In some cases, Eco Tech solicitors allegedly wrote and entered PACE financing contracts without the permission of the homeowners, according to the department.The department on Monday issued an order to ban Eco Tech’s sole owner Nobertas Sinica from participating in PACE.“This order should make clear that we will not allow bad actors to hide behind their companies and will take action to shut down individuals who prey on vulnerable members of our community,” Commissioner Manuel Alvarez said in a statement.The department stopped Eco Tech from participating in the PACE program back in May when it was notified of the illegitimate behavior. It has since secured financial reimbursements for the 22 bilked homeowners and removed their property tax liens.

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