Federal authorities unsealed an indictment charging a Florida man with operating a Ponzi scheme that targeted members of the Haitian and Haitian-American community and took in more than $30 million from victims. George L. Theodule, 53, was charged with thirty-six counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and two counts of money laundering. Each of the wire fraud charges carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison - meaning that Theodule could potentially receive a sentence of hundreds of years in prison if convicted.
Theodule owned and operated several companies, including Creative Capital Concept$, LLC ("Creative Capital") and Creative Capital Consortium, LLC ("CCC"). Using these companies, and a variety of other entities and investment clubs he formed, Theodule held himself out as a financial expert to the Haitian community, touting his 17+ years of experience trading stocks and options. Theodule promised astronomical returns, guaranteeing potential investors 100% returns on their investment in just 90 days as a result of his supposed expertise in trading stocks and options. As if these exorbitant returns were not enough, Theodule also told potential investors that part of his trading profits were used for a variety of humanitarian purposes, including the funding of start-up businesses in the Haitian community as well as contributing to business projects in Haiti and Sierra Leone. Based on these representations, Theodule is said to have raised more than $30 million from July 2007 to December 2008.
However, authorities alleged that Theodule's claims of trading success were completely false, and that instead he was operating a massive Ponzi scheme. Rather, Theodule supposedly suffered trading losses of at least $18 million, and spent the remainder of investor funds to sustain a lavish lifestyle that included exotic car collections, motorcycles, rings, and even trips to Vegas.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges in December 2010, accusing Theodule of multiple violations of federal securities laws. According to the court-appointed receiver, Theodule had spent early 100% of the money he took in, and little remained for victims.
A copy of the indictment is here.