The Investigators

Jan 31, 2014 7:58 PM by Tom McNamara and Paul Birmingham

N4T Investigators: Solar company head facing dozens of felony charges

Here's a News 4 Tucson Investigators follow-up to a story we've been covering for more than a year. It's about customers of an Arizona solar business, who say they got burned.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators have been closely following developments in the investigation into that company, Salt River Solar and Wind.

On Friday, the man behind the company appeared in court. It was a long day in coming for the alleged victims, who first contacted us more than one year ago.

Michael Fricker sat stone-faced in Pima County Superior Court. He's facing a total of 35 felony counts. The charges including fraud, theft, money laundering, and illegal control of an enterprise.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators were first contacted by his alleged victims in November, 2012.

Residents in Marana's Sunflower community complained that the company failed to deliver on the promise of rebates for the solar systems installed on their rooftops.

One of those alleged victims, Carol Girvan, tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators she was promised a rebate of more than $15,000 for the purchase a solar system.

"I want him convicted of all of the wrongdoing that he's done. Second of all, I want restitution. Once that is done, then I want him to serve prison time for what he has done to all of us," Girvan says.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Jette tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, other alleged victims say they paid Fricker thousands of dollars for solar systems, and never got their panels or their rebates.

"You cannot foster an infant industry like green energy like solar panels without people being forthright and honest, and so the issue is, did this company take TEP rebates or U.S. Treasury rebates and not give them to the customer and that's the alleged charges," Jette says.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators caught up with Fricker outside the courthouse, to get his side of the case. He and his lawyer said they have no comment at this point. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Fricker will be in court again in March, and the News 4 Tucson Investigators will be there too

Assistant Attorney General Jette tells us, there may be many more potential victims out there, and investigators would like to talk to them. You can contact the A.G.'s office at (520) 628-6504.

If you have something you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to look into, email us at investigators@kvoa.com, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tipline at 955-4444.

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