LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has successfully secured a temporary restraining order and finalized an asset freeze against Nelson Solis, the owner of Eco Solar Home Improvement, along with several affiliated entities and associates. The order will protect consumers from being victimized and prevent assets from being dissipated during litigation of a lawsuit Feuer’s office filed last week against Solis and others, alleging a scheme to defraud Los Angeles homeowners of more than $1.4 million.
"Today’s court victories are important steps as we fight to stop the unlawful practices we’ve alleged and strive to obtain restitution for those we allege have been harmed," said Feuer. "And I urge others to come forward if they believe they’ve been victimized. We want to help as many people as possible."
The court granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the company from further engaging in alleged unlawful activity including acting as a contractor, making false and misleading claims, falsifying documents and taking or spending money associated with the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. In addition, the court left in place a freeze on all assets held by Defendants that were connected to their unlawful conduct. The temporary restraining order will be in place until a hearing for the preliminary injunction currently scheduled for April 26, 2019, at 9:30 am in Department 86 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.
Feuer’s office named Solis and his companies, including Aleman Electric/Eco Solar Plus LLC, along with related businesses and individuals, including Edgmont Eco Construction, Max & Son Inc., Henry Solis, Edduy Peña, Max Ramos Hernandez, and Raul Amaya in the lawsuit alleging a scheme to defraud City Homeowners through the misuse of the PACE Program.
The PACE program is a government program designed to help property owners finance certain energy efficiency home improvement projects, including the installation of solar panels, through loans backed by property tax assessments. According to the lawsuit, the Defendants allegedly targeted Spanish-speaking Los Angeles homeowners and used high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations, and false promises to attempt to lure victims into construction contracts and PACE loans that enriched Defendants at their victims’ expense.
The civil lawsuit alleges that Defendants took out substantial PACE home improvement loans on behalf of homeowners—sometimes even without their consent—while concealing from their victims the terms and true costs of the loans, and failing to perform the construction work they had promised. Some of Defendants’ victims state that they were not even aware of the identities of the PACE companies financing “their” loans, until months after Defendants allegedly had made off with the money.
Once the Defendants received the proceeds of PACE loans or large upfront cash payments, they would allegedly abandon the homeowner’s projects, typically without performing any meaningful work. Most victims’ projects allegedly either were never started, remain unfinished, or resulted in significant damage to the victims’ property. As a result, many of Defendants’ alleged victims have paid large sums in cash or have tens of thousands of dollars in PACE loans attached to their homes, for work that was not delivered.
The Los Angeles City Attorney is also partnering with the Los Angeles County Department of Business and Consumer Affairs (DCBA) to assist homeowners during the pendency of this lawsuit. DCBA is working with county departments to address PACE-related property tax liens if fraud is suspected.
Anyone who believes that they may be a victim of these alleged practices should call the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office at (213) 978-8070 or the County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.
Deputy Chief Will Rivera, Supervising Deputy City Attorney Christina Tusan and Deputy City Attorneys Rebecca Morse and William Pletcher of the City Attorney’s Criminal and Special Litigation Branch, Consumer and Workplace Protection Unit, are handling the litigation.