LAS VEGAS (CN) - A phony inventor of a "plasma engine" that could "run for months" on $1 in fuel defrauded investors of $1.4 million, a federal judge ruled.
Seventy-two-year-old John P. Rohner scooped up $1.4 million from 98 investors by claiming "that he and his companies have developed, tested, and patented an operational 'plasma engine' fueled by abundant and inexpensive noble gases, which ... will replace the internal combustion engine and can run for several months on a single charge of gas mixture at a cost of less than $1," the SEC said in its amended complaint.
U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II on Tuesday granted the SEC's motion for summary judgment against Rohner and two of his three companies.
Boulware also granted the SEC's motion to appoint a receiver to manage Inteligentry, PlasmERG and PTP Licensing. He ordered the SEC to identify assets to be disgorged by Rohner, Inteligentry and PlasmERG, and ordered Rohner to deliver documentation of his assets to the SEC within one week.
Rohner never had a "plasma engine," the SEC said, but he "lured investors into purchasing stock by claiming that the Rohner companies' stock will be worth billions of dollars when the plasma engine is publicly revealed."
He created a "sense of urgency for prospective investors" by claiming "for more than two years that the 'final' engines that will be revealed to the public are weeks from completion, after which time Rohner company stock will be unavailable for purchase."
Alas! "Rohner and his companies have never run an engine fueled by noble gases, nor have they obtained patents or trademarks relating to the engine or the plasma technology," the SEC said.
Rohner also claimed, falsely, that he has advanced degrees from Harvard and M.I.T., according to the amended complaint.
He claimed that he had "patented and trademarked the engine, the Plasmic Transition Process, and the electronic controllers that purportedly control the engine."
The judge denied Rohner's motion to hold the SEC in contempt.
The noble gases are the first six gases on the right-hand column of the Periodic Table of Elements: helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon. They are odorless and colorless and inert, i.e., have very low chemical reactivity.
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