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SEC Charges Individual in Investment Scheme Targeting Haitian-American Community

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against 40-year-old Marc Henry Menard in the Eastern District of New York for allegedly defrauding more than 50 individuals of at least $1.65 million. It is alleged that Menard used his standing within the Haitian-American community to lure friends and other community members into investing with him.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from approximately July 2021 through September 2023, Menard solicited investments by misrepresenting his past investment success, how he would use investor funds, and the returns investors would receive. The complaint alleges that Menard told a number of investors that he or his business, MarcoTech, would use their funds to trade in stocks and options, and he lured investors with purportedly guaranteed interest payments of 10% to 20 % per month, which Menard knew or recklessly disregarded he could not guarantee, and ultimately did not pay in full as promised.

MarcoTech was incorporated in New York in 2022 and is currently registered with the New York Department of State as a limited liability company. It is believed Menard used the company, which he solely owns, as a vehicle to accept investor funds and carry out his fraud.

As alleged in the complaint, Menard was not the successful investor he claimed to be, losing nearly $700,000 trading securities, primarily using investors’ funds. Menard had negative returns in 11 out of 16 months of active trading during the time period of concern.

Menard allegedly misappropriated a significant amount of investor money for his personal use by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury vehicles, international travel, gifts, rent, and other personal expenses, as well as to make payments to prior investors in a Ponzi-like manner. In addition, as alleged in the complaint, Menard diverted significant amounts of investor money to Laesha Jean-Louis, age 30, with whom he had a romantic relationship. Finally, the complaint alleges that when Menard could no longer make promised interest payments to investors or repay the principal on their investments, Menard resorted to additional falsehoods to conceal his scheme.

The SEC’s complaint charges Menard with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1), 206(2), and 206(4) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-8 thereunder, and seeks permanent injunctive relief, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, civil penalties, and a bar from acting as an officer or director of any public company. The complaint also names Jean-Louis as a relief defendant and seeks disgorgement plus prejudgment interest.

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