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Two Charged in $80M ATM Ponzi Scheme

Two men are accused of swindling $80 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme that centered around an automated teller machine business, federal officials said Monday.

According to the U.S. Manhattan Attorney's Office and the FBI, 55-year-old Vance Moore, of Raleigh, North Carolina and 62-year-old Walter Netschi of McKinney, Texas were charged with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.

Moore was arrested Friday in Garner, North Carolina and was scheduled to appear before a judge Monday in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Netschi surrendered to authorities in New York on Monday. His attorney, Michael Washor, said his client will likely plead not guilty.

In the alleged scheme - which occurred from 2005 to January 2008 - Moore and Netschi apparently posed as owners of various companies - including ATM Financial Services and told people collectively they had purchased 4,000 ATMs. The pair then took investors funds promising them revenue from cash withdrawal fees.

In the indictment, however, prosecutors charge,"the funds were not used to purchase Automated Teller Machines as promised by Moore and Netschi. They were used to further the fraudulent scheme and to enrich Moore and Netschi at the expense of the investors."

An investigation found most of the machines didn't exist or were never owned by the men.

Each count in the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a hefty fine. The government is also reportedly seeking forfeiture of $80 million from Moore and Netschi.

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