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US SEC building in Washington, D.C., 2008 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
US SEC building in Washington, D.C., 2008

SEC: Florida Man Misused Haitian American Investors' Funds

The SEC said Anson Jean-Pierre told investors the funds would be used to develop projects in Haiti, but he actually spent some of the money on things like retail and travel purchases.

The SEC charged a Florida-based man with using investment funds from more than 200 primarily Haitian American investors for his own personal use.

Between August 2017 and November 2018, Anson Jean-Pierre solicited investors through his company, Brothers Investment Group International, according to the SEC complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami last week. According to the complaint, Jean-Pierre urged investors to invest in “membership interests” in his company, telling them Brothers Investment Group would use the funds to oversee development projects in Haiti, and that their funds would be invested “at a profit.” The projects included potential real estate, agricultural, e-commerce and banking projects. 

Jean-Pierre claimed the products would help “eradicate poverty and promote prosperity and financial security among the Haitian community” and said about 96% of an investment amount would be directly invested in the development projects, with the remaining money being used for administrative costs, according to the complaint. The money went directly into bank accounts for the company, with Jean-Pierre controlling the only debit card issued for the account, according to the SEC. 

But Jean-Pierre reportedly misused about 37% of about $794,000 in investments raised, with only about 55% going toward the actual projects, according to the complaint. 

“With less than two-thirds of the investors’ seed money going into the development of the projects, the likelihood that any of the projects would be successful diminished significantly,” the complaint read. “Indeed, none of the projects were successful and investors lost their money.” 

According to the SEC, Jean-Pierre used the funds for a variety of personal uses, including funding a gala event, retail purchases, restaurants, travel charges, cash withdrawals and payments toward himself. The commission is seeking a permanent injunction, as well as disgorgement and prejudgment interest and civil penalties against Jean-Pierre and his company.

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