Couple found guilty of stealing money for biodiesel plant

(WBIR) A Knoxville couple is found guilty of taking grant money to create a bio diesel plant, then spending it on themselves.

John Brichetto, CEO of Northington Energy, and his wife, Lisa Horn-Brichetto, were each charged with theft over $60,000. According to a press release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson, the couple was involved "in a scheme to bilk the State of Tennessee and Morgan County out of $142,215 in grant monies and loans backed by the State in exchange for building a biodiesel fuel manufacturing facility near Wartburg."

The plant is not operational today.

The pair was indicted in May 2011, but it has taken a lot of time and money to finally get the case to trial.

"There have been so many starts and stops through the years with the Brichettos requesting different attorneys, all court appointed, and having to change judges mid-stream," District Attorney General Russell Johnson explained.

The trial finally started with jury selection on Monday. After more than two days of testimony, it took the jury less than three years to return a guilty verdict.

Sentencing is set for August 19th at 1:00 pm in front of Judge Summers in Morgan County. The Brichettos are free on bond until sentencing. They are expected to get jail time and be ordered to pay full restitution to the State and County on behalf of the taxpayers.

In a statement, John Brichetto said, "My wife and I are disappointed in the todays court verdict, but we look forward to the appeals process to to be vindicated in another court of law."


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