A Colleyville businessman was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in federal prison for scamming almost $4 million from nearly 100 investors for a wind farm that never existed.
US. District Judge Barbara Lynn also ordered David Lyman Spalding, 62, to pay $3,391,146.80 in restitution. And he must forfeit $160,893.31 in proceeds from the sale of his home on Spring Garden Drive in Colleyville.
A jury convicted Spalding on various offenses related to the wind farm investment scam.
He was arrested Nov. 12, 2013, at his Colleyville home. He remained free for most of time he awaited trial.
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From at least 2003 to April 2011, Spalding raised almost $4 million from 97 investors in 11 states, persuading them to make payments to his companies, according to federal agents.
He got too deep into it. He had a colossal ego.
Don Delaney, investor
The Colleyville businessman promised people a generous return on the money they invested in Wind Plus Inc. and Baseload Energy LLC, renewable-energy companies he created, according to federal court documents.
Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office said Spalding instead used those funds to acquire real estate, travel overseas and buy jewelry — including a $76,000 ring — all while lying to the people who trusted him.
“He turned deals down because he thought he would find a deeper pocket who would give him more money,” investor Don Delaney said in a interview with the Star-Telegram in November 2013. Delaney gave Spalding more than $225,000. “He knew the game, and he knew the technology. He talked the talk, but he didn’t walk the walk. He got too deep into it. He had a colossal ego.”
Spalding would not spend money to complete Wind Plus projects, telling investors that cash was tight, federal agents said.
Spalding used that excuse to quell investors’ concerns, even as he bought a personal residence in the 3900 block of Spring Garden Drive in Colleyville, valued in 2013 at nearly $300,000 by the Tarrant Appraisal District.
Delaney initially invested $50,000 but said Spalding kept coming back for more after making a small payment to him. The note that Spalding issued to Delaney was supposed to begin accruing 10 percent interest if not paid back within a year, Delaney said.
Federal court documents indicated that Spalding did not pay anyone back within the specified time.
Spalding also promised that if the company went public, the note-holders could buy shares at a penny apiece, Delaney said.
“I warned him in 2009 that I was going to the FBI if he didn’t get some things together,” Delaney said. “He said he was going to get my money back, so I waited. By June 2010, it was clear I wasn’t going to get any of my money back. Then he said he didn’t owe us any money because of the statute of limitations.
“This is not about retribution. This is about justice. I’ve already been mad,” Delaney said. “I’ve already gotten over it.”
When he filed bankruptcy in November 2009 for Wind Plus and Wind Plus Holdings, Spalding continued to solicit investors for Baseload Energy, promising that money would be used to build infrastructure for renewable energy projects. He also referred to Wind Plus management changes as business rearrangements, but the Wind Plus staff had quit because they had not been paid, authorities said.
This information includes information from Star-Telegram archives