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Cape Coral man faces charges in financial scams targeting Haitians in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte

A Cape Coral man is facing multiple charges of economic crimes after he allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from 20 victims via investment scams.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Ludovic Laroche, 54, Tuesday. Charges against him include racketeering, securities/investments prohibited practices, embezzlement, sale of unregistered securities and violations of the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act. The case was a joint investigation between FDLE and The Office of Financial Regulation.

The FDLE investigation began in 2020 after receiving a complaint. Agents said Laroche targeted the Haitian community making presentations to several Haitian Christian church congregations in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties.

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.

In another scheme, he enticed his victims to invest in Houdini Taxi Apps, LLC telling them he owned a taxi service and was developing a cell phone ride share application. The investigation shows Laroche never owned any taxis and the application was never made available to the public.

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. Anyone with information about this crime should contact FDLE Fort Myers at (800) 407-4880.

Laroche remains in Lee County Jail on $149,000 bond.

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