For the last six months the State Attorney’s Office for the 20thJudicial Circuit has been involved in the investigation which resulted in the arrests and charges against two individuals. Joseph Charde, broker/realtor of the Charde Group at Oneir Realty, Inc. of Marco Island was charged with six felonies and a RICO charge. In addition to Charde, Allen Duquet was charged with an additional 36 felonies, a RICO violation and a RICO conspiracy charge.
Due to the sophisticated nature of the economic crimes alleged to have been committed by the two, the investigation would require a lengthy forensic evaluation of the evidence by the State Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and investigators from Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. State Attorney Amira Fox would describe the program allegedly developed by Charde and Duquet as a “Ponzi Scheme.”
The investigation stemmed from an initial complaint from an individual in Charlotte County, who is alleged to have been defrauded by the two men charged on Wednesday afternoon. That complaint would lead investigators to the discovery of up to 26 other victims of the alleged wide-ranging scheme, which involved investment opportunities in the building of the Sunseeker Resort in Charlotte County. Duquet had originally been arrested in January on that initial complaint.
Duquet is charged with a long list of crimes, which include; racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, aggravated white collar crime, First Degree Grand Theft (12 counts), Second Degree Grand Theft (17 counts), Third Degree Grand Theft (three counts), Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information (two counts) and Second-Degree Money Laundering over $20,000.
The charges against Charde include; RICO Conspiracy, First Degree Grand Theft and Second Degree Grand Theft (four counts).