Danbury Man Charged with Running Ponzi Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a 15-count indictment charging IAN PARKER BICK, 19, of Danbury, with fraud, money laundering and false statement offenses stemming from his alleged operation of Ponzi scheme. The indictment was returned yesterday and BICK was arrested at his home this morning.
According to the indictment, BICK was a principal and/or managing member of various Danbury-based entities, including This Is Where It’s At Entertainment, LLC, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale, LLC, and W&B Investments, LLC. Using these entities, BICK solicited investment funds from his friends, former classmates, acquaintances, and their parents by promising high investment returns over relatively short periods of time. BICK falsely represent to victim-investors that he could generate the high investment returns by using their funds to purchase electronics and electronic devices, such as iPhones and head phones, and resell the electronics via the Internet. BICK also falsely represented to certain victim-investors that he could generate high investment returns by using their funds to organize and promote various concerts, including concerts purportedly scheduled at various venues in Connecticut and Rhode Island. BICK falsely represented that he had made significant profits organizing and promoting concerts in the past. As part of the scheme, it is alleged that BICK entered into various investment contracts, including “Loan Agreements” and “Music Venture Participation Agreements,” with his victims.
The indictment alleges that BICK was not purchasing electronics and reselling any electronics on the Internet, and that the concerts he promoted were not generating significant profits as represented. BICK failed to invest the money as represented and instead diverted invested funds for personal expenses, including hotel stays and to purchase jet skis. BICK also used invested funds to issue payments, purportedly as “interest payments” and as “return of principal,” to certain victim-investors.
It is alleged that, through this scheme, BICK defrauded more than 15 investors out of a total of nearly $500,000.
The indictment further alleges that, during a June 2014 interview with U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents, BICK falsely stated, with respect to the use of the money that a certain victim-investor invested with Planet Youth Entertainment LLC, that “70 to 80 percent of the money had been on ‘artist deposits,’” when only a minimal portion, at most, of the invested funds had been used in any way connected with any artist deposits.
At his arraignment today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven, BICK entered a plea of not guilty and was released on a $250,000 bond. As conditions of his release, BICK was ordered not to have any contact with victims and witnesses, and not to use any social media accounts.
The indictment charges BICK with 11 counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count, three counts of money laundering, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count, and one count of making a false statement to federal law enforcement, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the Danbury Police Department and the Connecticut Department of Banking. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry.
This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in Bridgeport.
Citizens with information that may be helpful to this ongoing investigation are encouraged to contact the FBI at (203) 777-6311.