Valdosta Fitness Club Owner Denied Bond, Now Facing More Charges

By: Kim Carapucci Email
By: Kim Carapucci Email

UPDATED 6:22 PM (5/11/09)

A fitness club owner arrested last week is now facing additional charges in a credit card fraud scheme.

Valdosta Police arrested 46-year-old Michael Vona on Friday in front of the Boom Fitness Club.

Mike Vona of Boom Fitness is now facing twelve counts of identity theft --- that's up from the 8 counts he faced on Friday.

Police say he's been pulling thousands of dollars from his clients' bank accounts.

The Valdosta Police Department spent today typing up reports from the town's most recent fraud victims.

So far, 35 Boom Fitness members have filed police reports, stating they've had money withdrawn from their bank accounts without authorization.

"We've had people that join on a monthly basis for ten dollars a month and come to find out within a month they've had $100-$150 taken out of their account. It's bad that people go to a place to make themselves better and come to find out they're getting ripped off," said Officer Brian Becton of the Valdosta Police Department.

Police say fraud victims continue to flood their station and their detectives are working hard to investigate each and every report.

The judge did deny bond for Mike Vona. Officers say they have reason to believe Vona is a flight risk, meaning if he did post bond and leave jail, he may not show up for his trial.

Police say this has been going on for at least two to three months and they say Vona has NOT given a reason as to why he took the money.

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Updated 11;51 a.m. (5/11/09)

Valdosta Police Department has charged Mike Vona with four more counts of credit card fraud.

Vona is now charged with 12 counts of credit card fraud.

Also, a no-bond has been issued for Vona since authorities believe he poses a flight risk and may flee the country if bonded from jail.

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Shrinking waistlines turn into shrinking bank accounts for some members of a Valdosta fitness club.

Now, police have arrested the owner in connection with multiple cases of credit card fraud.

Around 3 PM on Friday, Valdosta Police arrested 46-year-old Mike Vona in front of the Boom Fitness Club in Valdosta. They say he's been pulling money from his clients' bank accounts.

Strapped in handcuffs, Michael Vona is the number one suspect in a credit card fraud investigation at a fitness club.

When asked if he took money from his clients, Vona responded, "Absolutely not."

Vona is the former owner of Boom Fitness Club in Valdosta, where police say he illegally took thousands of dollars from his clients' bank accounts, including Valdosta Police Captain James Waters.

"On Tuesday of this week I overheard another officer complaining about a fitness center called Boom Fitness," said Waters.

Waters had no idea trying to get fit would lead him to become a fraud victim.

"He was telling me that he had some illegal, unauthorized transactions from his checking account. So I called my bank to check on mine and sure enough, there was four unauthorized uses of my debit card," said Waters.

Police say Waters is one of many victims who are furious about their missing money.

"I feel like I've been betrayed. I trusted these people to do the right thing," said Jacquie Coker.

While these victims have lost more than just weight at this gym, the new owner is working hard to make sure each case is resolved.

"I just hope everybody gets their money back and all these issues resolved but it's in their hands now," said Scott Chapman, the new owner of Boom Fitness Club.

"The humorous part of this is when I went out to join, I told 'em I wanted to get lighter. I just didn't know they were gonna lighten my pocketbook, " said Waters.

Vona is being charged with eight counts of financial transaction card fraud.

Police say the victims will eventually get their money back, but they do not know when.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by john on Nov 11, 2010 at 03:59 PM
    I agree with the previous poster Scott is just as crooked as this Mike Vona clown. The (expletive deleted) turned me over to collections when the Gym owes me $150. He will never get a dime of my money. He told me quote "if I let every one out that wanted to get out I wouldnt have any members left" The way I see it he is just an extortionist/con artist.
  • by anonymous Location: florida on Aug 31, 2010 at 08:36 PM
    I wonder if they are paying taxes on all the money that they are making from "bombshellfitness"!!:-)
  • by Anonymous on Aug 18, 2010 at 08:07 AM
    If it wasn't for Scott you would still be getting stolen from. He's the one who brought that down and made sure you have a chance to get your money back. Try using the gym instead of complaining.
  • by Tiffany Location: Valdosta on Nov 23, 2009 at 09:59 PM
    Yes. They still owned it at this point. The past two managers they put in place were swindling from them. They ran off the best managers they ever had, so I say they deserve it.
  • by james on Oct 26, 2009 at 07:43 AM
    Does anyone know if Shannon Dey or Rob Rosetti(owners of club boom in ormond beach, Fl) had any connections or involvement with what happened there in Ga.? Because i know they claimed to have ownership in it.
  • by Anonymous on May 20, 2009 at 06:41 AM
    punitive damages! enough said, contracts are null and void.
  • by Anonymous on May 13, 2009 at 01:35 PM
    The new "owner" Scott will not let any victim of this situation out of their contract. Although employees of Boom Fitness were telling victims that the police were notified and that victims would be able to get out of their contract, that must have been a lie. He has no intention of letting any of us out of our contract because he states that he sunk his whole life savings in to the business and, by letting us out of our contracts, "the business would go under." Call me crazy, but I'm not giving my credit card information to these people ever again. I still haven't gotten the money back from what was stolen from me. If his threat to send us to collections is any indication, Scott has no particular interest in what this has caused his "members." So, Scott, please feel free to send me to collections. . . It seems you'll have to do that to many others as well. Perhaps we'll all see you in court.
  • by LEROY Location: BEVARD SCREET on May 11, 2009 at 10:11 PM
    SOUNDS LIKE ANOTHER METH HEAD.
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