MONTGOMERY COUNTY. Just two months ago, Temple grad Troy Wragg was on stage with former President Bill Clinton, receiving congratulations from Clinton’s foundation for the fight to “mitigate global warming.”
So much has changed in a short time for Wragg, 28, whose company, Mantria, has been shut down by the SEC for an alleged $30 million Ponzi scheme.
The merits being honored by the Clinton Global Initiative have also been called into question by the SEC, which claims that Mantria’s “biochar” plant in rural Tennessee is not going as green as Clinton’s group thought it did. In an interview yesterday, however, Wragg claimed that his company has produced 30 tons so far of biochar at a Tennesse facility. The SEC said in its filing that it’s produced none after claiming to produce 25 tons per day.
Wragg and COO Amanda Knorr “went through our normal due-diligence process and we found nothing of concern,” Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said. “We were surprised and disappointed to learn that their work may in fact be fraudulent.”
The foundation joins a list of some 300 investors the SEC alleges were duped by Wragg, his chief operating officer Amanda Knorr and two “wealth consultants” over the last couple years by claims that Mantria was developing green technology and “carbon negative” residential communities in the middle of Tennessee — about 100 miles southeast of Nashville.
An initial hearing on the alleged Ponzi scheme is scheduled in federal civil court tomorrow, according to court documents. Wragg said the allegations of a Ponzi scheme are untrue and Mantria is a legitimate development company.