Case # 06HF0973
Date: May 26, 2015
MAN CONVICTED OF DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN SCHEMES INVOLVING FAKE BUYERS AND COMPANIES
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of defrauding investors in schemes involving close-out clothing. Shaine Joseph LaVoie, 46, Dana Point, was found guilty by a jury of 12 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security, one felony count of theft from an elder, one felony count of forgery, and one felony count of writing a non-sufficient funds check, with sentencing enhancements for property loss over $150,000 and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. LaVoie faces a maximum sentence of 24 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing July 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 1992, the defendant co-founded Ezekial, a skateboarding clothing company. He left the company in 2003.
Between February 2004 and October 2004, LaVoie approached his friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase of over-produced and out-of-season clothing for re-sale. He convinced them to invest in a fraudulent $1 million scheme that he claimed involved a large shipment of designer jeans being sold to a Japanese buyer. LaVoie also claimed that the deal would close in under three months with up to a 100 percent profit.
When investors began to contact LaVoie for payment on their investments, the defendant lied and said that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems. He created a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with money from new investors. A “Ponzi” scheme is when investors are offered high, short-term returns on investments, but instead of the investments generating actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors. He is also accused of forging documents to trick the investors into believing that the investment deal was legitimate.
LaVoie eventually cut off all contact and failed to return calls from his 12 victims. He failed to pay back over $800,000 in stolen “investments,” and spent the stolen money on a lavish lifestyle, including trips to Las Vegas and purchasing Rolex watches.
In 2007, LaVoie approached two separate victims and convinced them to invest in a fake, non-existent clothing line called Agnus with the promise of high returns. He stole $10,000 from William H. and $4,200 from Brandon W. and never paid the victims back for their “investment.” LaVoie also wrote a bad check from a closed account for $15,000 to Brandon W.
Deputy District Attorney Megan Wagner of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.