INFO THE DEPECHE. Toulouse businessmen create a pyramid scheme: 20 million euros in estimated damage

the essential
The promise of rental yield was too good to be true. For years, Jean-Claude Vergnes, one of the figures of the cabinet l’Immeuble, a Toulouse real estate agency, is suspected of having created and profited from a pyramid scheme. The financial section of the PJ placed him in custody on Tuesday. Three alleged accomplices were also heard.

To convince the biggest fortunes of Haute-Garonne to invest their savings in his real estate projects, he promised very significant returns on investment. But the house of cards ended up collapsing. Jean-Claude Vergnes, one of the historical leaders of the “cabinet l’Immeuble”, a renowned Toulouse real estate agency, was placed in police custody on Tuesday. Three other men were also questioned until yesterday afternoon. “They are suspected of illegal exercise of the profession of banker and of scams”, specifies the public prosecutor. The hearings were conducted by the financial section of the territorial direction of the judicial police (DTPJ).

A pyramid scheme

The investigation began in January 2020. At that time, the judicial police received an anonymous report to denounce the actions of certain members of the Cabinet l’Immeuble, located rue Saint-Rome in Toulouse. From then on, officials carry out checks. And the first elements collected confirm their doubts: at least one of the representatives of this Haut-Garonne brand would have financed real estate projects completely illegally.
By dint of multiplying surveillance and listening, the DTPJ draws an organization. At its head, Jean-Claude Vergnes, already involved in other legal cases. This man and his associates would have created several civil companies (SCI) with which they would have launched real estate projects.
To finance all these new homes, there is no need for a bank. This businessman would have directly solicited wealthy individuals met by word of mouth. And to convince them to give their money, he would have guaranteed them a return on investment, with rental income with high yields, between 7 and 10%.
So far, all these funders have received the promised compensation. But the police realized that this money did not always come from real estate (!). The administrators of these civil companies would have actually created a Ponzi scheme. Each new investor made it possible to reimburse the people who arrived before him in these real estate projects. More than 150 investors would be affected.
With the arrests carried out this week, the empire built by Jean-Claude Vergnes and his associates risks experiencing a serious setback. And the last entrants may not recover their initial stakes. Justice is counting on a colossal damage, greater than 20 million euros.

An earthquake in the middle

“I denounce the fact that we can treat a complainant as a suspect. I denounce that we assimilate implicated and guilty, ”claims Me Simon Cohen, the lawyer for one of the three “associates” of Jean-Claude Vergnes. According to our information, Simon Cohen’s client had reported the illegal actions of Vergnes to the prosecution, as early as February 2020. But he now finds himself suspected of complicity.
The hearing of Jean-Claude Vergnes, defended by Me Denis Boucharinc, would have brought some answers. This Wednesday, following these police custody, the businessman and the three other suspects, represented by Mes Simon Cohen, Thomas Herin-Amabile and Jérôme Carles were released, pending the requisitions of the prosecution of Toulouse. This file is likely to cause an earthquake in the middle of the real estate.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *