US man gets 8 yrs prison in $80 mln ATM Ponzi scam

Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:49pm EDT

 * Walter Netschi convicted of wire fraud, conspiracy
 * Co-defendant Moore sentenced to similar prison term
 * Victims duped into investing in nonexistent ATMs
 NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - An Arkansas man was
sentenced on Friday to eight years and four months in prison
for helping run what prosecutors called an $80 million Ponzi
scheme involving automated teller machines that were never
bought.
 Walter Netschi, 64, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge
Thomas Griesa in Manhattan, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet
Bharara said. Griesa also ordered the defendant to forfeit $80
million and serve two years of supervised release.
 The government said Netschi and co-defendant Vance Moore
induced people to buy roughly 4,000 ATMs, promising the
machines would generate fees from cash withdrawals, but that 90
percent of the ATMs did not exist or were never purchased.
 Investigators said the fraud ran from 2005 to January 2008,
and that the men used proceeds to enrich themselves and further
their scheme.
 A federal jury convicted Netschi on Nov. 12 of nine counts
of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy after a three-week
trial.
 Moore had pleaded guilty the prior month to the same
charges. He was sentenced in February to eight years and one
month in prison.
 Beth Farber, a lawyer for Netschi, was not immediately
available for comment.
 Prosecutors had requested a prison sentence of between 11
years and three months and 14 years for Netschi, reflecting
federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory. The
defendant's lawyer had requested three to five years.
 Netschi is a resident of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas,
Bharara's office said.
 The case is U.S. v. Moore et al, U.S. District Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 09-00881.
 (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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