FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A federal jury 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 wind turbine that was never operational and a proposed wind farm project in Elm Springs that was never constructed.
According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Arkansas, court documents and evidence at that trial showed Jody Douglas Davis, 46, of Searcy, and Phillip Vincent Ridings, 64, of North Little Rock, formed a limited liability company in Texas in 2014 called Dragonfly Industries International, and Arkansas Wind Power, an Arkansas limited liability company located in Springdale.
Documents say the companies were developed for what Davis and Ridings told investors was a revolutionary wind turbine design that was to be installed on a 311-acre wind farm proposed for construction in Elm Springs.
The news release says the superseding indictment says Davis and Ridings conspired with Cody Fell of Springdale and others beginning as early as June 2014 and continuing through and including March 2018.
The release says they tried to obtain money from investors who were told their money would be used to build a prototype of the wind turbine and develop wind farms in Elm Springs, in Iowa, and other states.
The evidence presented at the trial showed that Davis and Ridings used most of the $700,000 they obtained from investors for Davis’ and Ridings’ personal use, according to the release.
Evidence at the trial revealed that investors were told that Dragonfly’s wind turbine could produce more energy than the traditional three-blade wind turbines commonly used on existing wind farms.
They were also told that nationally recognized engineering firms and a University of Memphis mechanical engineering professor had “validated” the Dragonfly wind turbine’s design, and that the Department of Defense has expressed strong interest in acquiring Dragonfly’s wind turbines for use in combat zones.
Investors were also told a prototype of the wind turbine was nearing completion, and that leaders of underdeveloped countries were ready to buy Dragonfly’s wind turbines.
The release says investors were told a $10 million grant from the Department of Energy was soon to be awarded to Dragonfly.
The release says none of these promises investors were given were true.
Cody Fell pled guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in December 2018 and will be sentenced on September 17. The release says a sentencing date for Davis and Ridings has not yet been scheduled.