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Would-Be Idaho Nuclear Reactor Developers Indicted for Fraud

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As if things couldn’t get any worse for the company that tried to sell a phantom nuclear reactor to Idahoans, the other shoe just dropped with a 14-count federal criminal indictment charging two executives of Eagle-based Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud and filing a false tax return, among other things.

Don Gillispie, the former head of AEHI, and Jennifer Ransom, its former vice president, began peddling a reactor project in Idaho in 2006, first in Owyhee County and then in Elmore County and finally in Payette County, where local officials embraced the plan. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had already filed civil charges against AEHI, and that case is pending in U.S. District Court.

“The indictment alleges that, beginning in October of 2006, and continuing through December of 2010, the defendants conspired to manipulate and inflate the market price of AEHI stock,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a Nov. 14 news release. The FBI said AEHI raised about $14.1 million in capital financing from private investors. The news release quoted U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson: “Those who manipulate securities markets and deceive investors pose a significant risk to our financial system. Those who further defraud the United States and their fellow tax payers by failing to pay taxes on their ill-gotten gains must not be allowed to manipulate the system.”

Gillispie came to Idaho eight years ago to try to market a nuclear reactor, but despite his raising millions of dollars from investors, his plan quickly began to unravel in 2010 with the federal civil suit. The criminal case alleges 14 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and making false statements to the FBI.

You can read Snake River Alliance Executive Director Kelsey Jae Nunez’s take on these recent events here, and you can read the FBI’s news release on the AEHI indictments here. And you can review past Alliance blog posts about AEHI here.

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