Friday, November 17, 2006

Patrick Kelly of United Fuel Cell convicted in hydrogen fuel cell scam



New Jerseyans seeing fuzzy, Quijotesque visions in technology?

On November 9, Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly in Trenton (Mercer County), ordered Patrick Kelly of United Fuel Cell Technologies to pay $400,000 in restitution, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Kelly collected approximately $2.5 million between 2000 and 2004 from about 500 investors, mostly New Jersey residents.

"Mr. Kelly claimed to offer investments in a breakthrough technology. In reality, he offered only lies," said Division of Criminal Justice Director Paw. "We have ensured that he will be appropriately punished for his greed and deception."

Hydrogen fuel cells generate energy use hydrogen with water as a product of the reaction. The problem was that Kelly (who also operated under the name Genesis World Energy) fraudulently claimed to have invented a process to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water to produce hydrogen and oxygen gases to be burned as fuel or used in fuel cells. He claimed the technology would free the U.S. from dependence on oil from the Middle East.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a state grand jury indictment on Sept. 23, 2005 charging Kelly with second-degree securities fraud in connection with his sale of “common stock” in United Fuel Cell Technologies. The indictment alleges that he falsely claimed that United Fuel Cell Techologies was a Delaware corporation, and that Hewlett Packard and IBM had agreed to assist the corporation in developing and marketing its technology and related products. In fact, United Fuel Cell Technologies was never incorporated, and Hewlett Packard and IBM did not make any agreement with the company. Kelly also was indicted on second-degree charges of conspiracy and theft.
[text from ZPEnergy]

One notes that some claims in the area of embryonic stem cell research are not that distinct, in terms of real-world achievability, from what United Fuel Cell Technologies was pushing. One year after Hwang's fraud was revealed, no one has created embryonic stem cell lines through SCNT. And, on the patent front, so-called experts are not realistically assessing the impact of the patents of Thomson / WARF. Unless Jerseyans want to get burned some more, they ought to be more skeptical about promises in the embryonic stem cell area.