Case # 06HF0973
Date: May 4, 2015
MAN TO FACE TRIAL FOR DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN SCHEMES INVOLVING FAKE BUYERS AND COMPANIES
SANTA ANA – A man is scheduled to face trial tomorrow for defrauding investors in schemes involving close-out clothing. Shaine Joseph LaVoie, 46, Dana Point, is charged with 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 enhancement allegations for property loss over $150,000 and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 24 years and four months in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, May 5, 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 is accused of approaching his friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase of over-produced and out-of-season clothing for re-sale. He is accused of convincing 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 is accused of claiming 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 is accused of lying and saying that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems. He is accused of creating a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with money from new investor’s. 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 is accused of eventually cutting off all contact and failing to return calls from his 12 victims. He is accused of failing to pay back over $800,000 in stolen “investments.” He is accused of spending the stolen money on a lavish lifestyle, including trips to Las Vegas and purchasing Rolex watches.
In 2007, LaVoie is accused of approaching two separate victims and convincing them to invest in a fake, non-existent clothing line called Agnus with the promise of high returns. La Voie is accused of stealing $10,000 from William H. and $4,200 from Brandon W. and never paying the victims back for their “investment.” He is also accused of writing 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.