Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced that Joseph John Colello, a former employee of the Oregon Department of Energy, pleaded guilty to Racketeering, Bribe Receiving, Aggravated Theft in the First Degree, Tax Evasion (Oregon) and Official Misconduct this afternoon in Marion County Circuit Court. Colello was formerly responsible for overseeing the transfer of Business Energy Tax Credits (BETCs) for the state.
“We are pleased that Mr. Collelo has taken responsibility for his fraudulent conduct against the state, which involved a scheme to make money off BETC credits,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “This program was intended to benefit Oregonians, but instead a state employee took advantage of a well-meaning program for his own benefit.”
When an organization earned BETC credits but could not use them against their own Oregon tax liability, they could choose to sell the credits, find buyers, contract with a broker or ask ODOE to help find a buyer. Colello’s role was to assist in all of these transactions and he was directly involved in the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of BETC credits.
For his involvement, Colello received $291,017.04 worth of kickbacks. There is no sentencing date scheduled at this time.
Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002