LOS ANGELES – On April 4, 2019, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office filed a civil complaint and obtained an asset freeze against Nelson Solis, the owner of Eco Solar Home Improvement, along with several affiliated entities and associates, for allegedly defrauding Los Angeles homeowners of more than $1.4 million, which the lawsuit claims was either taken in cash or through loans backed by assessments on homeowners’ property taxes, in exchange for little or no work.
“Thanks to the investigative work done by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and CSLB Enforcement Representative Doris Velasquez, who is a member of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) and the California Association of Regulatory Investigators and Inspectors (CARII), the LA city attorney’s office can take on this fight to make the victims whole again,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
"Schemes perpetrated by unscrupulous home-improvement businesses, as we allege here, can be devastating for homeowners," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. "My office is fighting back. We’re working aggressively to stop allegedly unlawful practices, obtain restitution for those we allege have been harmed, and empower residents with the facts they need to avoid being victimized in the future."
In addition to the asset freeze, the LA city attorney is seeking a permanent injunction, civil penalties and restitution for the alleged victims.
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 were each named in the lawsuit alleging a scheme to defraud city homeowners through the misuse of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (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 lawsuit alleges that the 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. Victims stated that they were not even aware of the identities of the PACE companies financing “their” loans, until months after the 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 were never started, remain unfinished, or resulted in significant damage to the victims’ property. As a result, many of the 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 city attorney’s office credits CSLB for contributing significant investigative work to this matter, in particular through the efforts of Jessie Flores, CSLB Deputy Chief of Enforcement, and CSLB Enforcement Representative Doris Velasquez.
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