Two suspects accused of stealing $6M from 26 victims in Ponzi scheme
The State Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit announces our investigation into an alleged multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme which has resulted in the arrest of two men, Joseph Bernard Charde, 72, of Lee County, and Allen Roy Duquet, 68, of Collier County. Charde has been charged with six felonies including RICO Conspiracy while Duquet is facing 38 additional felony charges including RICO and RICO Conspiracy.
To date, the State Attorney’s Office investigation has identified 26 victims of the alleged frauds with a total dollar amount stolen in excess of $6 million.
Duquet was originally arrested by the State Attorney’s Office in January, 2019 after an investigation into a complaint by a Charlotte County resident who invested money through Duquet. The defendant is accused of taking money for real estate investments and spending the escrow money instead of utilizing the money properly towards the intended purchase.
A financial analysis was done during the investigation which revealed a more complex fraud scheme which involved Charde who acted as a broker to the transactions made by Duquet as an agent. The men owned a company called Oneir Sales and Rentals LLC on Marco Island. It was discovered that they ran an investment program called “The Commission Resource Program.”
The State Attorney’s Office alleges that this program constituted a Ponzi scheme in which investors were led to believe that they would get big returns on their money; but instead, the money was used to pay back other investors, make up the shortfall of stolen escrow funds, or for personal use. Investors lost approximately $1.9 million dollars in that scheme. Duquet is also accused of misappropriating escrow funds from a victim who sold property to the Sunseeker Resort on Charlotte Harbor. The victim gave money to the defendant to purchase properties to build the resort. Duquet is accused of stealing money from other victims when it came time to close on the properties because he had already spent the money given to him.
“The sophisticated investigation into this elaborate fraud scheme has taken months to fully develop through the diligent work of our Economic Crimes Unit. This case was complicated to unravel but the assigned attorneys and investigators followed the financial trail and were able to identify the more than two dozen victims. I commend them for the many hours of hard work and
dedication it took to put this case together,” said State Attorney Amira D. Fox.
Duquet is charged with:
- Racketeering Conspiracy
- Aggravated White Collar Crime
- First Degree Grand Theft – 12 counts
- Second Degree Grand Theft – 17 counts
- Third Degree Grand Theft – 3 counts
- Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information – 2 counts
- Second Degree Money Laundering over $20,000
Charde is charged with:
- RICO Conspiracy
- First Grand Theft
- Second Degree Grand Theft – 4 counts