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New York jury convicts man over $80 million Ponzi scheme

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Texas man has been convicted by a federal jury for helping run what prosecutors called an $80 million Ponzi scheme that lured victims into investing in automated teller machines that were never purchased.

A Manhattan federal jury on Friday convicted Walter Netschi of McKinney, Texas, of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy, court records show.

Co-defendant Vance Moore of Raleigh, North Carolina, pleaded guilty on October 18 to the same charges.

Prosecutors in September 2009 accused Moore and Netschi of soliciting investments to buy about 4,000 ATMs, promising that the machines would generate fees from cash withdrawals.

In fact, about 3,600 of the ATMs did not exist or were never owned by Moore and Netschi, and the men used proceeds to enrich themselves and further their scheme, prosecutors said.

The scheme ran from 2005 to January 2008, prosecutors said.

"We are disappointed in the verdict," Netschi's lawyer Beth Farber said on Monday. "We plan to appeal."

Prosecutors have said Netschi was 62 when he was charged, and could face 20 years in prison on each count.

Netshci's sentencing is scheduled for March 2, court records show.

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 Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)