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Banking and Finance

Trial Begins Friday for 20-Year Old Nightclub Owner Accused of $500,000 Ponzi Scheme

 Trial begins Friday for a Connecticut teenager accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that duped friends and family - including his parents - out of $500,000. Ian Bick, now 20, is facing eleven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement. Bick has been free on bond since his arrest earlier this year - with one of the conditions of his release prohibiting his use of social media. Bick could potentially face decades of prison time if convicted and sentenced to the maximum term for the charges, as wire fraud carries a maximum prison term of twenty years per count while money laundering and making false statements to law enforcement carry maximum sentences of 10 years and 5 years, respectively.

Bick is the owner of a popular Danbury, Connecticut club known as Tuxedo Junction. In addition, Bick also owned multiple entities such as This is Where It's At Entertainment, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale and W&B Investments. According to authorities, Bick used these entities to solicit friends, business partners, and even his parents with the promise that their investments would be used for multiple purposes to yield lucrative returns in short time periods. For example, potential investors were told that their funds would be used to buy electronics and subsequently resell them for a profit, as well as for the organization and promotion of concerts in Connecticut and Rhode Island. These investments were memorialized through "loan agreements" and "music venture participation agreements."  In total, approximately $500,000 was raised from at least 15 investors.

However, according to authorities, Bick did not use the funds raised from investors to purchase electronics or organize concerts. Rather, Bick is accused of diverting investor funds for his own personal use, including luxury travel, the purchase of jet skis, and the payments of fictitious interest to investors. At an interview with U.S. Postal Inspection Service in June 2014, Bick represented to investigators that 70% - 80% of investor funds had been used on "artist deposits."  However, in reality, only a minimal portion of investor funds were allegedly used as promised.

At 19 years of age at the time of his arrest, Bick is likely one of the youngest known defendants accused of a Ponzi scheme. Donald French, a Florida man, was 25 when he was arrested in 2012 and charged with operating a $10 million Ponzi scheme. French is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence. 

 For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.

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