A man in Minnesota was recently convicted in federal court on criminal charges after spearheading a scheme aimed at bilking wind energy customers out of millions of dollars. The scheme took place over the course of several years. The man convicted of fraud in connection with the scheme is 52 years old.
He apparently created a renewable energy company back in 2009. At the time, he claimed to sell, install and maintain wind turbines that could help farmers to reduce their energy costs. However, he ended up stealing $13 million from his customers from 2010 to 2013.
Of the millions of dollars he took, prosecutors say he used a couple million dollars for personal travel, car purchases and even his son's college tuition expenses. He was convicted on three charges of mail fraud and a charge of wire fraud. He was also convicted of completing a financial transaction involving property that was criminally derived.
Individuals who face fraud charges in Minnesota, whether at the state or federal level, are fully protected before the court by the presumption of innocence. Prosecutors must prove every element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt -- a feat that can be difficult to accomplish -- before any conviction may be secured. Alternatively, defendants may opt to seek to negotiate plea deals with the goal of receiving lighter charges and thus more lenient sentences than what they would receive following guilty verdicts at trial. In either scenario, an attorney will push for the best outcome for the client considering the circumstances surrounding the criminal case.