U.S. charges Connecticut teenager with running Ponzi scheme

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2015 5:13 PM

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - A Connecticut teenager has been indicted for allegedly running a nearly $500,000 Ponzi scheme in which he falsely promised high investment returns by reselling electronics online and promoting concerts in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Ian Parker Bick, 19, of Danbury, Connecticut, pleaded not guilty on Friday after being arrested earlier in the day at his home, U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said.

The plea came after a federal grand jury charged Bick with 11 counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement.

Bick entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Margolis in New Haven, Connecticut. He was released on $250,000 bond and ordered not to use social media accounts.

"He was trying to put together a business in the music industry," Bick's lawyer Jonathan Einhorn said in a phone interview. "There was absolutely no criminal intent in what he did, and we intend to go to trial and convince a jury."

The indictment said Bick used the entities This Is Where It's At Entertainment, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale and W&B Investments to solicit funds from friends, former classmates and their parents.

But it said Bick did not resell electronics on the Internet, or generate the profits he advertised from concerts he promoted.

Instead, Bick used money for personal expenses such as hotel stays and jet skis, and to make alleged "interest payments" and "return of principal" to some investors, the indictment said.

More than 15 investors were defrauded, and Bick allegedly lied to federal postal inspectors last June when asked how one investor's money was being used, prosecutors said.

Bick faces up to 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)