Local News

Missing passport keeps Ponzi suspect behind bars

Posted September 22, 2009 11:09 a.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2009 6:56 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man charged in an $80 million scheme to defraud people investing in automated teller machines remained in custody Tuesday because he couldn't locate his passport.

Vance Moore II, 55, was arrested Friday in Garner, and federal authorities agreed Tuesday to release him on a $5 million bond – if he surrenders his passport.

Authorities consider Moore a flight risk and want the passport to ensure he doesn't flee the country. Moore told a federal magistrate that he doesn't know whether the passport is in his home in Florida or his home in Raleigh.

The magistrate gave Moore's attorneys until 2 p.m. Tuesday to check both residences for the passport, but when he couldn't produce the passport, he was ordered to remain in custody.

A second man charged in the case, Walter Netschi, 62, of McKinney, Texas, surrendered Monday to federal authorities in New York and was released on a $3 million bond, authorities said.

Both men are charged with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Authorities said they solicited money from investors from 2005 to January 2008 by claiming they were placing about 4,000 ATMs in retail locations throughout the country. They told prospective investors that the machines would generate revenue streams by charging fees for withdrawals. About 90 percent of the machines didn't exist or were never owned by Moore and Netschi, authorities said.

The men used some money from new investors to provide returns to earlier investors, while keeping the bulk of the money for themselves, authorities said.