Two Arkansas Men Convicted of Fraud and Money Laundering in Elm Springs Wind Farm Project, Arkansas | USAO-WDAR
FAYETTEVILLE – A federal jury today convicted two men from Arkansas of wire fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering in connection with the development of a wind turbine that has never been operational and a proposed wind farm project in Elm Springs, Arkansas, which was never built.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Jody Douglas Davis, 46, of Searcy, Arkansas, and Phillip Vincent Ridings 64, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, formed a Texas limited liability company in 2014 called Dragonfly Industries. International, LLC (“Dragonfly”) and Arkansas Wind Power (“AWP”), an Arkansas limited liability company located in Springdale, Arkansas, to develop what they told investors was a revolutionary wind turbine design which was to be installed on a 311 acre wind farm proposed for construction in Elm Springs, Arkansas.
According to the previous indictment, Davis and Ridings conspired with Cody Fell of Springdale, Arkansas and others, from June 2014 through March 2018 inclusive, to obtain money from investors to whom the it was said that investor money would be used to build a prototype of the wind turbine and develop wind farms in Elm Springs, Arkansas, Iowa and other states. Evidence presented at trial showed that Davis and Ridings used most of the $ 700,000 they obtained from investors for the personal use of Davis and Ridings. Specifically, evidence at trial revealed that investors learned that Dragonfly’s wind turbine could produce more power than the traditional three-blade wind turbines commonly used in existing wind farms; that nationally recognized engineering companies and a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Memphis had “validated” the design of the Dragonfly wind turbine; whereas the Department of Defense has expressed strong interest in acquiring the Dragonfly wind turbines for use in combat zones; that a prototype of the wind turbine was nearing completion; that the leaders of the underdeveloped countries were ready to buy the Dragonfly wind turbines; and that a $ 10 million grant from the Department of Energy was soon to be given to Dragonfly, when in truth and fact none of these representations were true.
Cody Fell pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in December 2018 and will be sentenced on September 17, 2021. A sentencing date for Davis and Ridings has yet to be set.
Acting US attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
U.S. Assistant Prosecutors Kyra Jenner and Kenneth Elser continued the case.
Related court documents can be viewed on the Electronic Documents Public Access website at www.pacer.gov.