- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Federal authorities say the former owner of a Manhattan restaurant is charged with running a $12 million Ponzi scheme.

Hamlet Peralta appeared Friday before a federal magistrate in Macon, Georgia, after he was arrested by the FBI. U.S. marshals were bringing him back to New York.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH’-ruh) in New York says Peralta allegedly “fleeced” people who invested in a fictitious wholesale liquor business.

Prosecutors say Peralta used most of the money to repay other investors and for personal expenses such as dining, high-end clothing and spa treatments.

Peralta is charged with wire fraud.

The attorney who represented him at his initial court appearance did not immediately respond to a comment request.

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