NEW YORK -- A man was charged last week in a scam that involved funding a fake online fitness magazine.
Mark Andrew Moore lured more than 50 people from at least six states into putting up a total of $365,000 to launch an online personal fitness forum, according to the Manhattan (NY) District Attorney’s office.
Moore, however, created only a skeletal Web site for the venture called eS-prit International Inc., which was billed as an online magazine and social network, assistant district attorney Hope Korenstein said. The headquarters for the company was a rented post office box, prosecutors added.
Victims sent Moore an average of $5,000 each from California, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada and Virginia and received bogus stock certificates in return. One Massachusetts man gave Moore $77,000.
Moore spent more than $100,000 of the money he received in restaurants and bars, plus he spent an additional $3,500 on luxury items, prosecutors claim. He also spent $15,000 in restitution from a 2000 grand larceny conviction for stealing from City University of New York’s Hunter College, where he had worked as a facilities manager.Moore was being held on a $150,000 cash bond after pleading not guilty last Thursday to charges that included grand larceny and tax fraud. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.