BOSTON (AP) — A man charged with cheating investors out of about $1.7 million in a pair of abandoned beachfront real estate deals in Massachusetts has pleaded not guilty.

The Patriot-Ledger ( ) reports that 67-year-old Scott Wolas appeared in federal court Tuesday to answer to seven counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities say Wolas used an alias while living in Quincy to convince people to invest in the redevelopment of the former Beachcomber nightclub site and an adjacent property. Prosecutors say much of the money went to unrelated purchases, unexplained cash withdrawals and penalties. They say he also spent nearly $100,000 on books, stamps and other collectibles.

Investors became suspicious when Wolas failed to return from a business trip. He was arrested in April in Florida.

His court-appointed attorney has not commented.


Information from: The (Quincy, Mass.) Patriot Ledger,