After several days of deliberations, a federal jury convicted a 20-year old Connecticut nightclub owner of operating a Ponzi scheme that promised outsized returns from the resale of electronic devices. Ian Parker Bick, 20, was convicted on six counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering after a trial that began earlier this month. The jury found Bick not guilty of two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement, while a mistrial was declared on the remaining three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Each of the wire fraud counts carries a maximum twenty-year sentence, while the money laundering charge carries a ten-year sentence.
Bick is the owner of a popular Danbury, Connecticut club known as Tuxedo Junction. In addition, Bick also owned multiple entities such as This is Where It's At Entertainment, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale and W&B Investments. According to authorities, Bick used these entities to solicit friends, business partners, and even his parents with the promise that their investments would be used for multiple purposes to yield lucrative returns in short time periods. For example, potential investors were told that their funds would be used to buy electronics and subsequently resell them for a profit, as well as for the organization and promotion of concerts in Connecticut and Rhode Island. These investments were memorialized through "loan agreements" and "music venture participation agreements." In total, approximately $500,000 was raised from at least 15 investors.
However, authorities alleged that Bick did not use investor funds to purchase electronics or organize concerts. Rather, Bick is accused of diverting investor funds for his own personal use, including luxury travel, the purchase of jet skis, and the payments of fictitious interest to investors. At an interview with U.S. Postal Inspection Service in June 2014, Bick represented to investigators that 70% - 80% of investor funds had been used on "artist deposits." However, in reality, only a minimal portion of investor funds were allegedly used as promised.
Bick's sentencing has been scheduled for March 2, 2016.
At 19 years of age at the time of his arrest, Bick is likely one of the youngest known defendants accused of a Ponzi scheme. Donald French, a Florida man, was 25 when he was arrested in 2012 and charged with operating a $10 million Ponzi scheme. French is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.