[UPDATED] Shaine Joseph LaVoie, Co-Founder of Ezekiel Clothing Co., Accused of Ripping Off Investors in Phony New Ventures
For those who do not have the energy to hit "MORE" to see the full version of the mugshot after the jump and read the accompanying text, LaVoie is accused of defrauding investors in clothing ventures authorities claim are phony. He co-founded Ezekiel skateboard clothing company in the 1990s out of a Dana Point garage and left the company in 2003.
UPDATE, FEB. 8, 1:29 P.M.: It's been pointed out to yours truly that it could have been construed from the original version of this post that Vince De La Peña is also a defendant in the case against his fellow Ezekiel skate clothing brand co-founder, Shaine Joseph LaVoie.
Far from it: De Le Peña is an alleged victim in the case, confirms the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
I regret anyone coming away from the first post believing De La Peña is also facing charges and have re-tweaked it to make that more clear.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 7, 4:25 P.M.: Shaine Joseph LaVoie, who co-founded Ezekiel Clothing Co., is accused of defrauding multiple investors in new clothing ventures that turned out to be phony. And prosecutors fear all of those stung by the alleged schemes have yet to be identified. Possible victims are encouraged to come forward.
LaVoie and Vince De La Peña started Ezekiel out of a Dana Point garage in the 1990s, and both left the company in 2003.
Now, LaVoie faces up to seven years and eight months in state prison if he is convicted of getting two men to invest in a nonexistent clothing line called Agnus, promising them high returns.
The 41-year-old Dana Point resident is charged in a separate case with convincing friends and acquaintances to invest in a fraudulent $1 million scheme involving a large shipment of designer jeans supposedly being sold to a Japanese buyer. Prosecutors say LaVoie told investors the deal would close in under three months with up to a 100 percent profit.
For the Angus case, LaVoie faces four felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of theft from an elder, two felony counts of using an untrue statement in purchase or sale of a security, and one felony count of writing insufficient-funds checks. He has a pretrial hearing scheduled in a Santa Ana courtroom on May 6.
In the jeans-to-Japan case, LaVoie is looking at 11 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of misrepresentation in the offer or sale of a security, and one felony count of forgery. He has a March 7 hearing date in the same courtroom for the re-trial of that case.
Anyone who believes they have been stung in the alleged schemes is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Eric Akerlind at (714) 347-8691.
According to the Orange County district attorney's office statement that follows, LaVoie eventually cut off contact with his investors and used $800,000 in ill-gotten funds for rent, expensive gifts and luxury items for him and his girlfriend.
February 7, 2011
OCDA SEEKS PUBLIC'S HELP IN IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF MAN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN FAKE CLOTHING LINE SCHEME
SANTA ANA - The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the public's help in identifying potential additional victims of a man charged with defrauding investors in a fake clothing line scheme. Shaine Joseph LaVoie, 41, Dana Point, was indicted on four felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of theft from an elder, two felony counts of using an untrue statement in purchase or sale of a security, and one felony count of writing non-sufficient funds check. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison if convicted. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing May 6, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In a separate case (Case # 06CF0973), LaVoie is charged with 11 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of misrepresentation in the offer or sale of a security, and one felony count of forgery. He is scheduled for a re-trial March 7, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-40.
Circumstances of Case # 11ZF0100
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.
Circumstances of Case # 06HF0973
In 1992, the defendant co-founded Ezekial, a skateboarding clothing company. He left the company in 2003. Between February and October 2004, LaVoie is accused of approaching his friends and acquaintances to invest in a new business. 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. La Voie 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 that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems. He is accused of creating a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with new investor's money. 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.
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 rent, expensive gifts, and luxury items for him and his girlfriend.
Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Eric Akerlind at (714) 347-8691.
Deputy District Attorney Yvette Patko of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting these cases.