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Ponzi Scheme Targets Churchgoers

David P. Meyer, Esq.

A South Florida woman has been accused in a $3.4 million Ponzi scheme that targeted churchgoers. Marguerite Martial Jean has been accused of using two companies to target the Haitian-American community in the alleged multi-million dollar investment scam.

According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, the 38-year-old woman orchestrated a Ponzi scheme through her two companies, MMJ's Warehouse and VLM Enterprise, between January 2007 and October 2010. She allegedly tricked approximately 293 unsuspecting investors out of nearly $3.4 million during that time period.

Authorities indicate that Ms. Jean targeted members of her church congregation in the Haitian-American community. The investors were offered promissory notes guaranteeing them as much as 22 percent interest on their investments. Investors were also told they would receive profits made from the purchase and selling of rice in India.

However, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office discovered and alleges that Ms. Jean actually placed the investors' money in her personal bank account and used the money to fund her personal lifestyle. Investigators also believe that some of the money was used to pay earlier investors.

Ms. Jean is currently being held on a $300,000 bond in a Broward County Jail. It is unclear when Ms. Jean will be in court next.