TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Miami Regional Operations Center (FDLE) today announced the arrest of Philippe Bourciquot. Bourciquot is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme in the South Florida area and has been charged with racketeering, securities fraud, grand theft, and money laundering in connection with the scheme.
“The Office of Financial Regulation works diligently to ensure that financial predators who commit affinity fraud by targeting and preying upon members of the same ethnic or religious community are thoroughly investigated and brought to justice,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “The OFR is committed to protecting Floridians from these types of crimes and raising consumer awareness about financial fraud. We continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to reach positive outcomes and protect the citizens of Florida.”
“This alleged Ponzi scheme cost many Haitian-Americans their hard-earned money with empty promises of great returns, and my Office of Statewide Prosecution will aggressively prosecute this defendant,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I am grateful to the Office of Financial Regulation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their partnership in an investigation that began with a tip regarding suspicious Creole radio advertisements.”
“His victims supported his lavish lifestyle,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “I regret that a large portion of the funds will be unrecoverable.”
The alleged scam involved Bourciquot using his radio shows to solicit the victims’ investments. Bourciquot allegedly lured investors by promising eight percent monthly returns and purportedly “guaranteeing” investors could not lose money. However, an investigation by the OFR and the FDLE revealed that much of the investors’ money was used to pay previous investors and also for the defendant’s personal benefit.
If you are considering investing, please be aware of the following red flags:
· High pressure sales tactics, such as “invest now” or “this offer won’t last long.”
· The individual offering the investment insists they are “one of you,” meaning they are a member of the affinity group, therefore they can be trusted.
· Absence of written disclosure material on the investment product.
· The investment “sounds too good to be true.”
· Historically reported returns are constantly positive and unnaturally consistent.
If you feel that you may be a victim of fraud or to report suspicious activity, please file a complaint with the OFR online, www.flofr.com, or call (850) 487-9687. Creole-speaking victims should call the Miami field office at (305) 536-0308. Creole version available upon request.