FAYETTEVILLE – A federal jury today convicted two Arkansas men for Wire Fraud, Aiding and Abetting Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Aiding and Abetting Money Laundering in connection with the development of a never-operating wind turbine and a proposed wind farm project in Elm Springs, Arkansas that was never built.
According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Jody Douglas Davis, 46, of Searcy, Arkansas, and Phillip Vincent Ridings, 64, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, formed a limited liability company called Dragonfly Industries in Texas in 2014 International, LLC (“Dragonfly”) and Arkansas Wind Power (“AWP”), an Arkansas limited company headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, to develop a revolutionary wind turbine design that investors say will be installed in a proposed 311 acre wind farm to be installed for construction in Elm Springs, Arkansas.
As early as June 2014 through March 2018, Davis and Ridings conspired with Cody Fell of Springdale, Arkansas, and others, to raise money from investors who were told the investors’ money was being used to build a prototype wind turbine, according to the succeeding indictment to build and develop wind farms in Elm Springs, Arkansas, Iowa, and other states. The evidence presented at the trial indicated that Davis and Ridings used most of the $ 700,000 they received from investors for Davis and Ridings’ personal use. In particular, the evidence in the process revealed that investors were told that Dragonfly’s wind turbine could produce more energy than the traditional three-bladed wind turbines commonly used in existing wind farms; that accredited engineering firms and a University of Memphis engineering professor “validated” the Dragonfly wind turbine design; that the Department of Defense has shown great interest in purchasing Dragonfly wind turbines for use in combat zones; that a prototype of the wind turbine was about to be completed; that the leaders of the underdeveloped countries were ready to buy Dragonfly’s wind turbines; and that Dragonfly would soon be receiving a $ 10 million grant from the Department of Energy, when in truth neither of these representations was true.
Cody Fell pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in December 2018 and will be convicted on September 17, 2021. A date for the sentencing of Davis and Ridings has not yet been set.
The acting US attorney David Clay Fowlkes announced from the Western District of Arkansas.
The case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
Assistant US attorneys Kyra Jenner and Kenneth Elser are pursuing the case.
Related court documents can be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website at www.pacer.gov.