A Ponchatoula man has been arrested and accused of creating a Ponzi scheme that cost at least 200 investors more than $11 million, according to the Attorney General's office.
Investigators say William J. Chaucer Jr. spent investors' money on things like jewelry, Mardi Gras krewe memberships, and plastic surgery and beauty pageant expenses for his wife
Chaucer has been charged with 20 counts each of felony theft, unregistered dealer in the sale of securities, sales of unregistered securities and making material misrepresentations in the sale of a security.
Chaucer was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Prison, and his bond has not yet been set.
The attorney general's office said Chaucer owns several financial service companies. He told investors their money would be used to fund one of his loan companies, but he used most of the money to finance his and his wife's extravagant lifestyle, investigators said.
According to the attorney general's office, investors unwittingly paid for, among other things: over $400,000 worth of Mardi Gras krewe memberships and krewe-related expenses for the Chaucers; $5,500 in plastic surgery and $11,800 in cosmetic dental work for Cheryl Chaucer; $5,558 for tickets to and ads for the Senior America, Inc. pageant contest in which Cheryl Chaucer was a participant; $14,275.74 in miscellaneous photos; $20,905.74 in jewelry; and thousands more dollars associated with Cheryl Chaucer's participation in beauty pageant events.
Chaucer closed his finance companies' business operations in September 2009. Since then, none of the investors, whose individual investments ranged from $10,000 to $417,000, have received any funds from Chaucer or his companies, investigators said.
Several investors told investigators that their requests to liquidate their investments and get their money back were rejected.
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