MONROE, La. (KLFY) — A Youngsville man was indicted in federal court today on charges of wire fraud from a million-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Donnie Laing, 39, faces nine counts of wire fraud from transactions through his business, Capital Energy Investments, LLC. U.S. Attorney David C .Joseph said Laing is the sole owner of Capital, which was formed in February 2017.
From April 16, 2018 through November 1, 2018, Joseph said Laing orchestrated a Ponzi scheme whereby he solicited money from multiple investors. Laing falsely promised them high rates of return when they invested with his company. Laing worked with a well-known associate in northeast Louisiana who has not yet been named publicly.
“Laing represented that Capital would use the money to invest in oil and gas equipment, and then lease such equipment to companies engaged in oil and gas exploration activities,” said Joseph.
Throughout the scheme, Laing submitted false proposals and contracts to the Ponzi investors to persuade them to invest. He also used funds from new investors to make “lulling” payments to his victims to solicit additional monies and to avoid detection. Contrary to his representations, Laing used investor funds for his own purposes.
Laing, if convicted, faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of the indictment, restitution to the victims, and a fine up to $250,000.
The FBI is investigating the case. An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.