A 54-year-old Cape Coral man was arrested after authorities say he stole hundreds of thousands from at least 20 victims through fraudulent investment scams.
Ludovic Laroche faces charges of racketeering, securities/investments prohibited practices, embezzlement, sale of unregistered securities and violations of the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The case was a joint investigation between FDLE and The Office of Financial Regulation.
FDLE said in one scheme, he urged more than a dozen victims to invest in Laroche Real Estate Investments, LLC telling potential investors he bought and flipped houses. He promised 10 percent interest annually on the investment, but agents say he never bought houses to flip. Over eight years, he purchased five properties, selling four of them. He collected more than $672,000 from the victims, but only repaid $93,500 to them, according to the press release.
He is also accused of tricking people into believing he was developing a rideshare application and got people to invest in it. However, investigators found he never owned any taxis and the application was never made available to the public, FDLE said.
According to authorities, in a third scam, Laroche convinced a neighbor to give him $15,000 to invest in a car company but Laroche never purchased the stock.
The investigation is ongoing and FDLE agents say there could be additional victims. If you have information about this crime, please contact FDLE Ft. Myers at (800) 407-4880.