A Jonestown man accused along with a former Texas Comptroller’s office employee in a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal stimulus funds for a Jonestown wind farm project pleaded guilty today to federal weapons charges.
Charles Anthony Malouff, at right, a former police officer, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andy Austin to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of destructive devices by a felon.
Malouff entered the plea as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors that calls for prison sentence of two and a half years. That agreement must be approved by a federal district judge.
In October, state officials executing search warrants in an investigation into the wind farm project searched the residences of Malouff and Mary Jo Woodall, his co-defendant in the fraud case.
Authorities found two gun safes in Woodall’s garage that she said belonged to Malouff, according to court documents. In the safes, as well as at Malouff’s house, authorities found 36 guns and at least 10 so-called “destructive devices,” including eight grenades, court documents state.
The destructive devices were registered to either the Bertram Police Department or the Bosque County sheriff’s office, the documents state. Malouff had worked at both places before he was convicted in 2007 of unlawful transfer of a firearm and sentenced to three years probation. The charge related to Malouff’s keeping and handling of noise/flash diversionary devices, also known as flash bangs or stun grenades, a federal affidavit said.
The weapons charges are being handled separately from the charges related to the wind farm. Malouff remains under indictment in state District Court on charges of securing execution of a document by deception and misapplication of fiduciary property, both first-degree felonies punishable by up to a year in jail.
Woodall is also awaiting trial on an indictment that accuses her of the same charges. Court filings say that Malouff, founder of CM Energies, and Woodall, a former state comptroller’s office grant administrator, worked together to obtain about $1.8 million in federal stimulus funds.
The indictment accuses Woodall of intending to defraud the U.S. Department of Energy and the state comptroller’s office by causing a comptroller’s office representative to award a grant to the City of Jonestown to install wind turbines in and near the city without disclosing that she had been involved in a personal friendship and romantic relationship with Malouff, whose company was chosen to manufacture and install the turbines.
Woodall is also accused of failing to disclose that she had helped Malouff run his business, that the grant application submitted to the city had been written by Malouff and that it contained fraudulent misrepresentations about his company and the capabilities of its wind energy systems, the indictment states.
She is accused of misapplying $1.8 million in public funds.
Malouff is accused of creating the false impression in the city’s grant application that his company had the ability to install the wind turbines and of misrepresenting the capability of the turbines. He is also accused of soliciting and encouraging Woodall to misapply the public funds.
Neither defendant’s case has been set for trial.
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