NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the convictions of William Vogt, a resident of Orange County, on felony charges in both Ulster County and New York County, for posing as internationally renowned fashion designer “Bill Bolland” to lure victims into making more than $400,000 in investments.
Instead, Vogt stole the monies and used them for personal expenses said Schneiderman. Today, (Feb. 2, 2016) Vogt pleaded guilty in New York County Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class “C” felony.
In December, Vogt previously pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class “D” felony, in Ulster County Court. Vogt faces up to 12 years in prison on both cases.
“This defendant pulled out several tricks to defraud his investors,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “No matter how outrageous the scheme, my office will bring the full force of the law against those who seek to defraud New Yorkers out of their hard earned money.”
An investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau revealed that over a three-year period, William Vogt, 57, of New Hampton, NY, held himself out as millionaire designer Bill Bolland, with a company called “Bill Bolland Haute Couture.” Vogt then used this identify to fraudulently solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims, through false promises that he could use his connections to secure high-return investments in various businesses.
According to the two indictments and statements made by prosecutors in the New York County case, Vogt used his fake persona to convince a victim in Manhattan to invest with him in various fictitious ventures from 2011 to 2014, including a purportedly tax-free account at Credit Suisse, stock in the VOSS Water Company and cooperative apartment units in Manhattan.
Vogt took the victim’s money by promising to secure office space at the Heron Tower in Manhattan, to procure seats on the Board of Directors of Voss Foundation, to purchase healthcare insurance and an IRA, to facilitate an application for Swiss citizenship, and make a contribution to Hillary Clinton. In order to make the investments appear legitimate and to conceal his theft, Vogt sent numerous forged emails to the victim purporting to be from entities such as Credit Suisse, VOSS, Voss Foundation, Morgan Stanley, and a law firm. Contrary to Vogt’s verbal and written representations, he made no investments and transacted no business on behalf of the victim. Instead, Vogt used the money for a variety of personal and living expenses, such as paying rent, shopping at Home Depot, Target, and Shoprite, and making purchases via Paypal.
Also according the indictments and statements made by prosecutors, in the Ulster County case, as he did in New York County, beginning in June of 2012, Vogt convinced his victim, a resident of Wilkes Barre, PA, that he could get a good rate of return by investing in a purportedly tax-free account allegedly held by Vogt at a major financial institution. In order to make the investment appear legitimate and to conceal his theft, Vogt sent forged emails to the victim that purported to come from the financial institution attesting to the existence of the alleged account. Believing that Vogt had business expertise and financial savvy, the victim gave Vogt more than $36,000 to invest in the account. The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that no such account ever existed.
In January 2015, Vogt was indicted in New York County and charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a class “C” felony), four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class “D” felony), nine counts of Forgery in the Second Degree (a class “D” felony), and three counts of violations of the Martin Act (a class “E” felony). Thereafter, in July 2015, the Attorney General filed a second indictment against Vogt in Ulster County, charging him with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class “D” felony), two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree (a class “D” felony), and one count of violation of the Martin Act (a class “E” felony).
On December 21, 2015, Vogt pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class “D” felony, before the Judge Donald Williams in Ulster County Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19, 2016 in Ulster County to 2 to 4 years in prison if he pays $36,720 to his victim, or 3 to 6 years in prison if he cannot pay restitution.
Today, Vogt pleaded guilty before the Judge Michael J. Obus in New York County Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class “C” felony.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 4, 2016, to 5 to 10 years in state prison if he pays $120,000 restitution to his victim and signs a confession of judgment for the remaining amount; if Vogt is unable to pay the restitution, he will receive a sentence of 6 to 12 years in prison and must sign a confession of judgment for the entire amount stolen of over $350,000.
This sentence will run concurrent to his Ulster County sentence.