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Two Southwest Florida men charged in multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 18:32:45-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Two men have been arrested in what the State Attorney's Office is calling an elaborate $6 million fraud scheme involving 26 victims across two counties. Joseph Bernard Charde, 72, of Lee County, and Allen Roy Duquet, 68, of Collier County, face multiple charges of racketeering and conspiracy.

Duquet was arrested in January 2019, as the result of an investigation into a complaint by a Charlotte County resident who invested money through Duquet. He's accused of taking money for real estate investments, and spending the escrow money instead of investing the money properly.

Investigators found 25 more victims in Collier County, and arrested Charde on charges of co-conspiracy Tuesday. According to the State Attorney's Office, Charde acted as a broker to transactions made by Duquet as an agent.

Investigators say the two men owned a company called Oneir Sales and Rentals LLC on Marco Island, and ran an investment program called "The Commission Resource Program." The State Attorney's Office alleges that this program was part of a Ponzi scheme.

"They promised big returns on investor's money, but are accused of diverting those funds to make up the shortfall of the stolen escrow funds, or for their own personal use," said State Attorney Amira Fox of the 20th Judicial Circuit.

Investors lost approximately $1.9 million in that scheme, according to the State Attorney's Office.

"There are many layers to the case, as it was an elaborate fraud scheme," Fox said.

She said that it is possible that more victims could come forward in the case.