RANDOLPH — State officials have filed a complaint against a Randolph couple accused of preying on local Haitian community members in an alleged Ponzi scheme that lost more than $5 million.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth's office says its Securities Division filed an administrative complaint Monday against Milendophe Duperier and Vanessa Joseph and their companies.

Duperier's father is the pastor at a local Haitian church, according to a release from the office.

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For more than two years, Duperier and his fiancée Joseph allegedly solicited millions of dollars from around forty different people, including family, friends, and church congregants.

The pair also gained $1 million from allegedly fraudulent federal PPP and SBA loans.

Duperier and Joseph are accused of making "outlandish claims" of foolproof returns to potential investors despite having no training or experience in investing, instead learning about options trading through YouTube, according to a release from the office.

The pair is accused of promising investors 60% returns per year, but allegedly used their funds for other purposes and then claimed fraudulent federal loans to make investor payments.

These added up to $1.5 million in federal pandemic-related funding and federal SBA loans, according to the secretary's office.

Funds were allegedly used to make payments to Duperier and Joseph's investors as well as refinance mortgages and pay for real estate, luxury cars, and other personal expenses.

"When new investments were not enough to keep pace with interest owed, Duperier and Joseph began defrauding the federal government as well," the complaint alleges.

"When the availability of SBA loans and PPP loans disappeared, Duperier and Joseph turned to check washing schemes, altering the payee field on otherwise legitimately issued checks to their own names and distributing the funds to investors."

The Securities Division is seeking a cease and desist order to stop Duperier and Joseph as well as an order requiring them to pay restitution to their investors as well as a fine.

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