Solar Power Firm Called Elder Abuser

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Scammers who “prey on the old and vulnerable” used high-pressure telemarketing to defraud a 78-year-old woman of tens of thousands of dollars, she claims in court.
     Andree Thompson sued A1 Solar Power, three other businesses and four of their officers on July 8 in Alameda County Court.
     She claims that after their telemarketers identified her as a potential victim, they sent defendant Dawn Peterson Williams – an “unlicensed salesperson with a serious criminal record” – to her home to induce her to sign an illegal contract for A1 to install a solar energy system.
     Among the lies she was told, Thompson says, was that after they installed it she would get a $12,000 rebate from the federal government.
     She says she was told the system would cost $18,000, but she was billed for more than $41,000.
     Corporate defendants include Energy Enterprises USA dba National Renewable Energy Center, Solar Power LLC, and Greensky Trade Credit.
     Individual defendants are A1 Solar CEO David Malka, of Sherman Oaks; former A1 Solar CEO Or Bytton aka Ori Bytton, of Los Angeles; National Renewable Energy Center president Ofir Shlomo Attal, of North Hollywood, who is Malka’s brother-in-law; and Peterson Williams, of Piedmont, who works or worked for A1 Solar.
     Thompson claims the defendants wrongfully procured a loan from defendant Greensky – a “complicit lender” – in her name, at 18 percent interest, without her signature or consent.
     She claims the National Renewable Energy Center – the telemarketer – uses “shameless and blatantly illegal tactics” that were described in a January column in the Contra Costa Times.
     Times columnist Tom Barnidge wrote on Jan. 12 that he investigated after a colleague told him she had received “dozens and dozens” of calls, sometimes three or four a day “for over a month.”
     Barnidge, who said the company never returned his calls, called it “a cold-calling, law-bending, solar energy huckster” that uses illegal spoofing to make illegal robocalls to people on the Do Not Call list.
     Barnidge followed up with another column two days later in which he wrote that he received at least six calls from people who were furious at the defendants.
     Thompson says in her lawsuit that A1 Solar’s website misleads visitors to believe that the company is affiliated with government entities.
     Thompson claims the defendants used the loan from Greensky to pay themselves “more than twice” what they told her it would cost.
     She says they placed her in an “impossible position,” because even if she could have prevented Greensky from giving the loan to the other defendants, they could have retaliated by placing a lien on her home.
     None of the parties responded to requests for comment on Friday.
     Thompson seeks rescission of contract, restitution and punitive damages for fraud, unjust enrichment, elder abuse, and aiding and abetting.
     She is represented by Tyler Meade, of Berkeley.

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