(WIVB) – New York’s attorney general has stopped a Western New York wind turbine company from using investor funds to subsidize the founder’s lifestyle, and offering and selling unregistered securities.

On Monday, the office of Attorney General Letitia James sought and obtained a temporary restraining order by the Erie County State Supreme Court against Kean Wind Turbines, Inc. and its founder, Kean Stimm.

According to the complaint, Stimm raised more than $3.5 million from 435 investors in WNY over the years, utilizing illegal sales and false and misleading statements.

Kean Wind said that the company had been engaged in developing a windmill called “the Newtonian Wind Turbine,” meant to generate electricity. However, each year since 2013, the turbine has never gone into production, and Stimm has insured investors each year that the production was planned for “later this year”.

The complaint also states that Stimm had assured investors that his “invention” would be 50 to 100 times more efficient than existing wind turbines.

To date, investors have not received any returns on their investment and the company is nowhere close to production on any turbine.

According to a Monday press release from the AG’s office, Kean Wind had diverted investors’ money to pay for Stimm’s personal expenses, including paying for his penthouse apartment and a personal assistant.

“Kean Wind and its founder targeted environmentally-conscious individuals who wanted to invest in green energy and were sold on a ‘revolutionary’ wind turbine, but all investors got were empty promises full of hot air,” said Attorney General James.

Stimm and his company assured the OAG that they would stop seeking investments and using investor money for personal expenses after the OAG opened the investigation, but continued to do so even as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the nation and caused many New Yorkers to struggle financially.

After the OAG opened up an investigation into Kean Wind, Stimm and his company made assurances that they would no longer seek investments and would stop using investor money for personal expenses, but still continued to do so, even as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health crisis spread across the nation and many New Yorkers were left struggling financially.