MINNEAPOLIS – A federal jury has convicted an Excelsior-area man for orchestrating a multi-million dollar fraud scheme in the wind energy industry.
After a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson, the jury found Robert Dooling, 52, guilty on all counts.
He was convicted on three counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property.
“Mr. Dooling wanted to live a life of luxury without earning the money to pay for it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena, “so he lied to and stole from people who trusted him, most of whom were hardworking farmers. Mr. Dooling will now be held accountable for his actions.”
The announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office came Wednesday, Aug. 29.
His company was Renewable Energy SD LLC. It rented space at 810 Excelsior Blvd., a city-owned building across from Adele’s Frozen Custard. Other tenants – nonprofit and for-profit – rent space in there now and one tenant noted the wind energy company hasn’t been in there for a couple of years. On Thursday, Aug. 30, a window sticker for a trade association was the only remain sign of it.
In 2009, Dooling founded Renewable Energy SD, with him as president. He marketed and sold wind turbines and installation and maintenance services. According to information from the trial, his customers primarily were farmers from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office news release said Dooling “devised and executed a scheme to defraud his customers by falsely representing that for an agreed-upon contract price, RESD would build and maintain wind energy turbines on customers’ land.”
However, the revenue was spent on Dooling’s personal expenses or on other customer’s projects, the jury found.
The trial revealed that Dooling would lie to his customers about the status of their orders, blaming manufacturers for delays.
In the end, more than 70 customers paid more than $13 million to Dooling and his company and never received the purchased wind turbines or a refund. The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted he withdrew about $2 million from Renewable Energy SD’s bank accounts for personal use, luxury automobiles, travel and college tuition for his son.
The case was investigation by the FBI.
“We are grateful for the work of the jury who deliberated this case and saw what we saw, and that was a scheme crafted by Mr. Dooling to defraud innocent and well-intentioned investors of their hard earned money with the empty promise of energy efficiency that would never come to be,” said Jill Sanborn, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI.
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