LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County man is accused of scamming more than 50 local investors out of over $700,000.
William H. Brown, 50, of Gordonville, sold shares of Fox Pizza Den in Intercourse but invested only a fraction of the payments into the business, District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office said.
Authorities said Brown was under a franchise agreement that did not authorize him to sell shares, but he didn’t tell his investors that and he failed to register the shares as required by law.
The district attorney’s office said Brown targeted Amish and Mennonite investors, among others, and his victims included nine elderly people.
He is charged with six felony counts including theft and deceptive business practices. His bail at Lancaster County Prison was set at $1 million cash.
Stedman’s office pointed out that Brown is not involved in the ownership or operation of the Fox Pizza Den currently operating in Intercourse. They said the owners of that business have given investigators their full cooperation and are not accused of any wrongdoing.
Brown was charged in a separate theft case earlier this year. Authorities said an Ephrata woman gave him $50,000 for a 49-percent share of a donut shop he planned to open in the same building as the pizza shop, but Brown never opened the shop and paid back the woman just $1,000.
He has waived a preliminary hearing on those charges.