An apologetic North Carolina man was sentenced Monday to eight years and a month in prison for an $80 million Ponzi scheme that persuaded people to invest in non-existent ATMs.
Vance Moore II was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, who said the crimes Moore committed from 2005 through January 2008 were too serious for him to be lenient despite Moore's charitable efforts over the years. Moore is already incarcerated.
"Something went wrong, and seriously," Griesa said.
The 57-year-old Moore said he had "done a lot of prayers, soul searching and cried a lot" since pleading guilty in October to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
"These people that suffered, they trusted me. I betrayed their trust. I made many mistakes," he said. "I'm so sorry, Judge. I am sorry to the victims."
The Raleigh resident also was ordered to forfeit $50 million and any right to properties in North Carolina and Florida, though a prosecutor said only a few hundred thousand dollars remained from the $50 million that was lost in the fraud.
"It was simply spent," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonia Apps, adding that $25 million was put into other businesses or given to charities. "We do not see much prospect of recovering many assets in this case."
She said about $2 million was used to buy real estate near the end of the scheme and second mortgages were taken out even after the fraud was revealed.
Prosecutors said Moore falsely represented that investors had purchased more than 4,000 ATMs. They said 90 percent of the machines did not exist or were not owned by Moore.
"Vance Moore created an elaborate scheme to deceive investors, and he continued to lie when questions were asked," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement after the sentencing.