A Florida man will plead guilty to operating a $30 million Ponzi scheme that targeted members of the south Florida Haitian-American community. George Theodule, 52, agreed to plead guilty to a single count of wire fraud. In return, prosecutors will drop the remaining thirty-nine charges Theodule faced when he was indicted in August. While the wire fraud charge carries a potential maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison, Theodule is likely to face a lesser sentence under federal sentencing guidelines.
Theodule owned and operated several companies, including Creative Capital Concept$, 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 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 as many as 2,500 investors 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 below: