UPDATE, MAY 30, 7:03 A.M.: Shaine Joseph LaVoie, who co-founded the Ezekial skateboarding clothing company before leaving the company in 2003, was convicted this week of more than two dozen felonies for bilking more than 12 victims in Ponzi-type fraud schemes involving close-out clothing and a phony apparel company. The Dana Point 46-year-old faces around 24 years in prison when he is sentenced July 17, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
He was convicted of 12 counts of grand theft, 10 counts of using a false statement in the purchase or sale of a security and single counts of theft from an elder, forgery and writing a non-sufficient funds check. Toward the end of LaVoie's scam, he was avoiding calls from 12 of his victims and spent the stolen money on a lavish lifestyle that included trips to Las Vegas and purchasing Rolex watches, said Roxi Fyad of the OCDA.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 5, 7:03 A.M.: The hits against Orange County-based clothing company co-founders keep coming.
On Monday, it was RVCA co-founder and former pro surfer Conan Hayes being arraigned for allegedly stinging Bank of America for $500,000 via short-sale fraud.
This morning, it's an Ezekiel Clothing Co. co-founder's day in court. Trial is scheduled to begin for Shaine Joseph LaVoie, a Dana Point 46-year-old charged with more than two dozen felony counts for allegedly defrauding investors in schemes involving close-out clothing.
LaVoie co-founded the skateboarding clothing company Ezekial in 1992 and left the company in 2003. Between February and October of the following year, he allegedly approached friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase of over-produced and out-of-season clothing for re-sale, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
He told investors a large shipment of designer jeans was being sold to a Japanese buyer and that the deal would close in under three months with up to a 100 percent profit, but when those who ponied up later contacted LaVoie for payment on their investments, "the defendant is accused of lying and saying that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems," the OCDA says.
LaVoie actually created a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with money from new investors and forged documents to trick the investors into believing that the investment deal was legitimate, alleges prosecutors, who accuse LaVoie of eventually cutting off all contact and failing to return calls from his 12 "victims."
He is accused of failing to pay back more than $800,000 in stolen "investments" and spending that money on "a lavish lifestyle," including trips to Las Vegas and purchasing Rolex watches, the OCDA claims.
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LaVoie is also accused of approaching two separate victims in 2007 and convincing them to invest in a fake, non-existent clothing line called Agnus with the promise of high returns. La Voie allegedly stole $10,000 from one man, $4,200 from a second and also wrote a bad check from a closed account for $15,000 to the latter fellow, prosecutors allege.
He is charged with 12 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security, one felony count of theft from an elder, one felony count of forgery, and one felony count of writing a non-sufficient funds check, with sentencing enhancement allegations for property loss over $150,000 and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000.
A conviction could have LaVoie sewing his life away in state prison for up to 24 years and four months, the OCDA says.