Springdale man convicted of role in Elm Springs wind farm fraud

FAYETTEVILLE – A Springdale man was sentenced to federal prison Friday after testifying in the fraud trial of two associates over the failure of a wind farm project in Elm Springs.

Cody Fell, who worked at Dragonfly International for a time, pleaded guilty to federal electronic fraud and tax evasion charges in December 2018.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks sentenced Fell to 10 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered Fell to pay $ 422,330 in restitution.

Fell was also ordered to pay the IRS restitution of $ 30,185 and file appropriate tax returns in the future.

Until all financial debts are paid, Fell is prohibited from opening bank or credit card accounts without the prior approval of his probation officer.

He was allowed to remain free on bail until October 20, when he was ordered to report to jail.

Fell agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the government. He testified against Jody Davis and Phillip Vincent Ridings during their fraud and money laundering trial.

Davis and Ridings have been charged with nine counts of wire fraud, aiding and abetting wire fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering. The two men were found guilty on all counts on September 3. They are awaiting their conviction.

Ridings and Davis, CEO of Dragonfly, were convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both were also convicted of four counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud.

The two men were also jointly convicted of two counts of money laundering, and both were convicted individually on one different count each.

Davis’ brother-in-law Fell said he received more than $ 100,000 in money from investors in Davis and Ridings.

In oral argument at the Davis and Ridings trial, Kenneth Elser, Assistant United States Attorney, told jurors that Dragonfly was nothing but a long-term scam that paid off Davis, Ridings and others. over $ 700,000 between 2014 and 2018.

This figure does not include the losses suffered by the people who worked for Dragonfly and never got paid or the person who ended up with a $ 2.3 million home loan.

Elser told jurors Davis and Ridings lied, withheld information, and used half-truths and fraudulent documents to lure investors, and then they would share the hold and make a living. Investors were told their money was going to pay for specific work on a turbine design or prototype and models or studies, none of which was underway, he said.

Davis and Ridings of Dragonfly scammed six investors in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri, indictment says. Investors have lost amounts ranging from $ 13,000 to $ 300,000, according to the indictment. There have been other casualties in Iowa and Texas, prosecutors said.

An attorney for Davis attempted to pass blame during the trial, telling jurors that much of the fraud was perpetuated by Fell.

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A criminal conviction refers to the formal legal consequences associated with a conviction. The types of sentences include probation, fines, short-term imprisonment, suspended sentences, which only take effect if the convicted person does not meet certain conditions, payment of compensation to the victim, work of general interest or rehabilitation in drug addiction and alcoholism for minor offenses. More serious sentences include long-term incarceration, life imprisonment, or the death penalty in capital murder cases.

Source: Cornell Law School

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