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Ultracade Founder David Foley Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Other Charges

Updated on January 21, 2012
Ultracade marquee.  David Foley, founder of Ultracade, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and other charges January 9, 2012.
Ultracade marquee. David Foley, founder of Ultracade, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and other charges January 9, 2012. | Source
A dedicated Ultracade cabinet.  Many retro-gamers would have loved one of these in the den.
A dedicated Ultracade cabinet. Many retro-gamers would have loved one of these in the den. | Source
David Foley, former CEO of Ultracade and CTO of Global VR.
David Foley, former CEO of Ultracade and CTO of Global VR. | Source

Really, David, really?

Many retro-gamers may recognize the name Ultracade. It was a semi-legal way to have a Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) system. The reason I say semi is that David Foley, the guy who designed this thing, got in trouble for selling Namco game packs without permission.

Namco America, back in 2003, released a press release that sternly warned potential purchasers of Ultracade machines that Namco had not licensed any of their titles--Pac-Man and Galaga being their two best known games--to Ultracade Technologies. Namco warned operators that they were purchasing an "unlicensed, illegal product and that Namco is taking appropriate action to protect its intellectual property from misuse / theft."

Foley then further angered hobbiests by trademarking the MAME name. His stated goal was to stop commercial sales of MAME platforms online since the buyers generally had to then download illegal copies of the game ROMs to actually do anything with the systems. Since the MAME software was free-ware that had been built as a hobby over various years, it substantially angered the collector community. Just Google "David Foley" and "MAME" to get a taste of what the opinion out there was like. Be warned, it's not pretty.

Despite the questionable legality of Ultracade's product and marketing, Global VR started a deal with Ultracade founder David Foley for Global to manufacture and distribute the Ultracade system in late 2005. Foley was to become Chief Technology Officer of Global as part of the buy-out. Global quickly realized their mistake, stopped the acquisition, and fired Foley (after they learned he was still selling the game packs).

Global VR's claim, pursued by the U.S. Attorney's office, was that Foley had continued to manufacture and sell the add-on game packs for the system through a dummy. Thus began a long legal battle that ended January 9, 2012. This past Monday, Foley pled guilty to these charges and to receiving payment for them through the mail and through wire transfers.

He also pled to other charges unrelated to the game industry--He pled to conspiring to defraud Countrywide Home Loans of nearly 3 million dollars by claiming on his loan applications that he was still employed by Global VR and having an accomplice "verify" this employment after he had been fired by Global. Foley argued in the Silicon Valley Mercury News that he had been employed by Global at the time he signed the papers, but was not working there by the time he filed them; he says that he did inform Countrywide that he was no longer employed by Global. His employment was terminated a week before escrow on the properties closed.

Foley's chief argument, despite pleading to the first charge, was that "Ultracade no longer existed" since he had quit operating Ultracade Technologies and Global VR had failed to complete the acquisition of the company.

The penalties for the two charges can be harsh. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to twice the net gain of loss from the fraud, plus restitution. The conspiracy to commit bank fraud penalties can be as much as 30 years in prison and $1 million in penalties, plus restitution. The court will determine the ultimate penalties, but Foley is facing up to 50 years in prison and over $1.25 million in fines and restitution.

The final sentencing is set for April 30, 2012. Foley is currently out on $100,000 bond.

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    • profile image

      Kevin 5 years ago

      Is there any way to get monies back that we're sent to him, after he got fired from Global he emailed me asking me to purchase an upgrade for my UltraPin which I did because he was good at spinning shit, promises were made for future updates but never happened, after reading all this I want my money back!

    • profile image

      Looking for you!! 5 years ago

      David Foley you are a lier and a crook. Investors in NanoTech have been looking for you for the past two years. First Bob Dekett gone now you. Phone at the "corp office" just rings, messages left and no one returns calls. All the while you continue to attempt to raise money for NTEK via debentures, for what purpose? Legal fees, mortgage payments, soap on a rope or just putting money together for the prison commissary? Lord knows nothing is happening with Nano. So prior to having your hair braided by your cell mate make sure that your brother or whoever is now running the show at Nano at least answers the phone or I can assure you that you will have more legal problems via the investors in NanoTech. I must admit...you are funny as hell "I did not plead guilty to fraud. I pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud" Thank god you cleared that up.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Here's an older story about the original indictment:

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/10/BA6L18LLG3.DTL

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Here's something about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, enjoy:

      https://hubpages.com/games-hobbies/Tom-Arnolds-Pin...

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      My response:

      Message body

      Mr. Foley,

      I have corrected the title of the article and changed Copyright to Trademarked.

      I took the agregate maximum sentencing from the plea agreement you signed. A copy of it is available online at:

      http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/press/press_docume...

      Once you have completed your sentencing process, I can update with the exact amount of time you are sentenced to. Until such time, I have to accept the terms as laid out in your plea agreement as the correct information.

      Sincerely,

      Doug Berry

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      From David Foley:

      You posted an article about me and your headline is not correct and must be changed. I did not plead guilty to fraud. I pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. You also make other misstatements in your article. Here is a link to provide you with some more details about what I actually plead to and some background on the case.

      Also, you incorrectly state that I "copyrighted" MAME, when in fact I filed a trademark on the word in an effort to stem the tide of the illegal use of it in commercial environments, and worked closely with the MAME team transfer that trademark. Core members of the MAME team confirmed my actions and the fact that I had asked them several times to take this to deal with it and when they didn't, I took the initiative to register the mark , transfer it to the team, and prevent unlicensed sales of MAME machines.

      Finally, you very incorrectly state that I'm facing 50 years in prison. You may look up the plea agreement as it is public record, but the maximum I could be sentenced to is 41 months, and that is if the judge does not accept any of our arguments about lack of loss.

      Please email me when you have corrected your article and posted notice of the update so that I can notify my lawyers that your inadvertent misstatements have been removed.

      http://ultracadetech.s3.amazonaws.com/Foley.pdf

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      http://www.justice.gov/usao/can/press/press_docume...

      Here is an acutual copy of the plea. Thanks to the guys at ArcadeControls.com for finding it. Also, for a legal document, it's readable. That's amazing!