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Brooklyn man accused of Ponzi scheme targeting Haitian American community

June 14, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
The Eastern District of New York Courthouse, where Marc Henry Menard is facing charges for allegedly defrauding more than 50 individuals, primarily from the Haitian-American community, out of at least $1.65 million in a Ponzi scheme. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Marc Henry Menard with defrauding over fifty individuals, mainly from the Haitian-American community, out of at least $1.65 million.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York, describes a scheme from July 2021 to September 2023. Menard allegedly solicited investments by falsely claiming past investment success and misrepresenting how investor funds would be used.

According to the SEC, Menard promised to use the funds for stock and options trading, guaranteeing monthly returns of 10% to 20%. Instead, he reportedly lost nearly $700,000 in trading and misused significant amounts for personal expenses such as luxury cars, travel, and gifts.

A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraud where returns are paid to earlier investors using the capital of new investors rather than profit earned. Menard fits this description by using new investor money to pay returns to earlier investors when he couldn’t generate enough profit from trading. 

The SEC also claims Menard gave significant amounts of money to Laesha Jean-Louis, with whom he had a romantic relationship, and continued to deceive investors when he couldn’t meet the promised returns.

Menard faces charges for violating several sections of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The SEC seeks to permanently prevent Menard from defrauding others, return the stolen money, impose civil penalties, and bar him from serving as an officer or director of any public company. Jean-Louis is also named as a relief defendant, with the SEC seeking to recover the money she received.

Tejal Shah, associate regional director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, explained the seriousness of the charges. 

“As we allege in our complaint, Menard lied to lure members of the Haitian-American community into investing funds and then stole a substantial amount of the money for his own benefit,” Shah said. “The SEC will continue to pursue individuals who prey on trusting members of their own communities.”


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