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SANTA ANA (AP) — An Irvine man has pleaded not guilty in an investment scheme that allegedly scammed $2.4 million out of investors who were promised he would develop a product to combat childhood obesity.

U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Thom Mrozek says 53-year-old Charles Davis signed agreements with investors that promised 15 percent interest on their investment over a 13-month period.

Davis was to develop and market a childhood obesity product, but instead the indictment alleges that he pocketed the cash for himself, family members and girlfriends, and even used it to pay legal fees in other lawsuits he’s facing.

Davis was taken into custody Monday morning, arraigned and released on $160,000 bond.

The case goes to trial Feb. 22.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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