US man gets 8 yrs prison in $80 mln ATM Ponzi scam
* 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)
- Israel pummels Gaza; Kerry steps up diplomatic push |
- With sales sputtering, Apple's iPad looks to IBM alliance
- Ukraine war crimes trials a step closer after Red Cross assessment
- Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food
- Rebels likely downed Malaysian jet 'by mistake': U.S. officials