Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Chamber Map Scam
(Pierre) – Mark Fultz, Florida, pled guilty in the Butte County Courthouse to one count of petty theft by deception yesterday.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, Circuit Court Judge John W. Bastian sentenced Fultz to one year in county jail. Bastian suspended the sentence, provided that Fultz pay $4,500 in restitution and costs of extradition. Fultz also turned over copyrighted map making computer programs to the Spearfish and Belle Fourche Chambers of Commerce for their use in future map making projects.
The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office and the Butte County State’s Attorney brought charges against Fultz after receiving complaints about him from the Spearfish and Belle Fourche Chambers of Commerce. Fultz, 31, was the president of the now defunct Florida company, US Chamber Maps, Inc.
US Chamber Maps promised to produce, print, and deliver full color maps to businesses in the northern Black Hills. In August of 2000, Fultz sold advertisements for placement on the maps to businesses in Spearfish and Belle Fourche. According to their contract, the maps should have been provided to the businesses by the Spring of 2001.
“The communities did eventually receive their maps, but not until after we arrested Fultz,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Larry Long. “We view those maps as part of the restitution owed to the businesses.”
“Companies need to understand that if they are going to come into South Dakota and do business with us, that we expect them to do so legally and responsibly. If not, we will see that justice finds them, even in Florida."
In June, Fultz was arrested in Georgia and was later extradited to South Dakota. Charges have also been filed against the other US Chamber Maps owner, Vice-president Larry Benveniste. He is considered a fugitive.
Chambers of Commerce in 30 communities outside of South Dakota also have similar complaints against US Chamber Maps.
“We are happy that these local businesses finally got their maps,” said Long. “Most communities won’t be so fortunate.”