Arrests in $80m Ponzi scheme

September 22, 2009 9:18:42 AM PDT
The FBI has arrested a North Carolina businessman in Garner and charged him in an $80 million Ponzi scheme allegedly involving ATMs in several states.Vance Moore II, 55, was indicted in New York on fraud charges. Another man, Walter Netchi, 62, of McKinney, Texas, was expected to surrender to authorities Monday.

According to the indictment, Moore and Netchi talked people into investing in a network of some 4,000 automatic teller machines that they claimed were placed in convenience stores, gas stations, malls, and hotels around the country.

The investors - who paid over $80 million to take part - were supposed to profit from the fees people paid to withdraw cash.

The indictment charges the men weren't buying and installing the ATMs as they claimed, but were instead used the money coming in from new investors to pay old ones to keep the scheme going and enrich themselves.

"The defendants claimed the revenue in their investment opportunity derived from ATM fees. In fact, it was a classic Ponzi scheme, and the phantom revenue came from new investors. The scheme itself, until discovered, was one giant cash machine," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Joseph M. Demarest, Jr.

"Vance Moore II and Walter Netschi used false promises and fake returns to steal tens of millions of dollars from their victims. We will continue to use the full resources of our Office to expose the perpetrators and vindicate the victims of complex financial frauds," said United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

The men are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. If found guilty, they face up to 20 years in prison on each count plus fines.

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