Radio Host Philippe Bourciquot Arrested for Haitian-Targeted Ponzi Scheme
Philippe Bourciquot wasn't keeping his Ponzi scheme quiet. He was broadcasting it all across the South Florida airwaves.
Bourciquot specifically targeted Haitian-Americans who were new to the country and unfamiliar with the financial infrastructure. Though a local radio show and through his church he promised to invest money in the stock market with a 8 percent monthly return. Instead he used the money to fuel a lavish lifestyle and to pay off previous investors.
"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 in a statement.
"His victims supported his lavish lifestyle," added Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "I regret that a large portion of the funds will be unrecoverable."
Though it's unclear which station Bouqciquot was broadcasting from (and it's likely he was paying for the time rather than being employed by a station), investigators said his broadcasts included numerous red flags. He gained his listeners trust by continually reminding them that he was a member of the Haitian-American community by using phrases like "one of you," but also stressed that opportunities may be limited and may not last for long, creating pressure for potential investors to act now rather than to think out the idea.
Investigators eventually determined that he was indeed running a scheme. Losses could be in the millions.
According to the Palm Beach Post, his Lake Worth office building was raided this morning by FDLE agents.
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is asking potential victims to file a complaint online flofr.com or through the phone 850-487-9687. Creole-speaking victims are asked to call 305-536-0308.