Utah man faces sentencing in wind farm fraud

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Casper, Wyo. • A federal judge has ordered a Utah man to serve more than 12 years in prison for masterminding a scheme that defrauded investors across the country of $4.4 million by promoting non-existent wind farm projects in Wyoming and South Dakota.

Fifty-three-year-old Robert Arthur Reed, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper on Tuesday rejected Reed's claim that he wasn't the leader of the scheme. Skavdahl said it is clear that Reed served as mastermind and directed others how to fleece investors.

Federal prosecutors said Reed led a group that solicited investments by falsely claiming the farms were being built with help of U.S. government funds.

Victims were told they had to make a minimum investment of $25,000, an indictment states.