Iowa man takes plea deal in gym program fraud case

An Iowa health coach accused of defrauding dozens of people who lost more than $6.5 million by investing in a gym program has taken a plea deal.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 8:11 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa health coach accused of defrauding dozens of people who lost more than $6.5 million by investing in a gym program has taken a plea deal.

U.S. District Court records say 49-year-old Mark Blankespoor pleaded guilty Friday to one count of wire fraud. Prosecutors dropped 23 more counts in return for his plea. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24.

Prosecutors say Blankespoor told investors from at least May 2013 through this past January that the medically oriented program would be licensed to fitness clinics nationwide and that investors could earn a 40 percent return on their money.

But prosecutors say Blankespoor instead used their money for himself and to pay other investors.

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