A Springdale man pleads guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with a bogus wind farm that was to serve Elm Springs.
Cody Fell, of Springdale, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Ark., last week.
According to court documents, Dragonfly Industries International, LLC (DII) was formed in Texas in 2014 by two people (whose names are not disclosed), to build a wind farm, “that would revolutionize the wind energy industry by producing electricity and creating large profits for investors.” Later, the initial two people asked Fell if he would market and build a wind farm in Arkansas.
The Arkansas plan began in 2014 and ran through 2016.
The three created a scheme to defraud investors by asking for money to build the wind farm.
In one example, the court document describes that in June 2014, the defendant fraudulently solicited two investors for thousands of dollars to pay for a wind study at a site in Elm Springs, Arkansas. The defendant, Fell, said he would, “build windmills to convert wind energy to electricity.” Investors, listed as A and B, each wrote checks totaling $75,000. Fell instead used those funds to pay rent, buy furniture, a boat and a lifetime hunting license, according to the court document.
Fell received $300,000 from another investor who was told the money was needed to pay an engineering firm for testing. The reality was that Fell split the money with the other two DII owners.
The defendant bought a new truck from money obtained from an investor on the pretense that the $13,900 was needed to purchase blueprints from an engineering company.
In all, Fell received $191,530 in 2014-2015 in the fraudulent scheme and failed to pay the income to the Internal Revenue Service, per court records.
Fell could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison on the one count of wire fraud, and up to five years in prison for tax evasion. Each charge has a $250,000 fine.
Fell has agreed to pay full restitution to all victims — that amount will be determined by the court.
DII was ordered to stop doing business in Arkansas by the Arkansas Securities Department in August 2016.