Two Arkansas men sentenced to federal prison for fraud and money laundering in connection with a wind farm project

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – On March 8, two Arkansas men were sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud, accessory to wire fraud, money laundering and accessory to money laundering in connection with from the development of a wind turbine that was never operational and a proposed wind farm project in Elm Springs that was never built.

The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

Jody Douglas Davis, 47, of Searcy, was sentenced to 180 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,138,845.28 in restitution and Phillip Vincent Ridings, 64, of North Little Rock, was sentenced to 97 months in prison followed by three years of probation and ordered to pay $1,138,845.28 in restitution.

This case represents some of the most important work we do. These defendants developed a scheme to steal large sums of money from innocent investors. The defendants in this case used lies and misrepresentations to trick investors into paying them large sums of money which they converted for their own personal use. We will continue to work with our federal law enforcement partners at the FBI and IRS to investigate and prosecute cases like this. We will also continue to work tirelessly to protect others from similar schemes to defraud.

Clay Fowlkes, United States Attorney

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Davis and Ridings formed a limited liability company in Texas in 2014 called Dragonfly Industries International, LLC (“Dragonfly”) and Arkansas Wind Power (“AWP”), a limited company. Limited of Arkansas located in Springdale, to develop what they told investors was a revolutionary wind turbine design to be installed on a 311-acre wind farm proposed for construction in Elm Springs.

According to the superseding indictment, Davis and Ridings conspired with Springdale’s Cody Fell and others, beginning in June 2014 and continuing through March 2018 inclusive, to obtain money from investors who were told that investor money would be used to build a prototype wind turbine and develop wind farms in Elm Springs, Iowa and other states.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Davis and Ridings used most of the $700,000 they secured from investors for Davis and Ridings’ personal use. Investors have been told that Dragonfly’s wind turbine can produce more power than the traditional three-bladed wind turbines commonly used on existing wind farms.

The investors were also told that the Department of Defense had expressed strong interest in acquiring Dragonfly’s wind turbines for use in combat zones and that a $10 million grant from the Department of Energy was going to soon be given to Dragonfly, among other misrepresentations.

A federal jury convicted Davis and Ridings on September 3, 2021. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kyra Jenner and Kenneth Elser prosecuted the case.

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