SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A central New York man has admitted to bilking more than two dozen people out of nearly $700,000 by getting them to put money into non-existent foreign oil investments.

The Post-Standard reports (http://bit.ly/2i0xGfg ) 53-year-old Allen Hess of Syracuse pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

Onondaga County prosecutors say Hess ran a Ponzi scheme that involved getting 28 people to invest a total of $694,000 after passing himself off as an expert in foreign oil investments. Authorities say he never invested the money and instead used the funds to pay off earlier investors.

His scheme lasted for about two years before some of the victims reported the thefts to local authorities earlier this year.

Hess is facing seven to 21 years in prison when he's sentenced Feb. 28.

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Information from: The Post-Standard, http://www.syracuse.com

[STORY BY: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]