Youngsville man indicted in federal court in million-dollar Ponzi scheme; former congressman involved

A Youngsville man was indicted in federal court on nine counts of wire fraud in a million-dollar Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors under the guise of investing in oil and gas equipment.

Donnie Laing, 39, is accused of working with a “well-known associate in northeast Louisiana” to defraud investors of over $1.1 million. Laing was indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts of wire fraud in federal court this week, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana David C. Joseph said in a release.

The “well-known associate” was not named, listed only as “Individual A” in the indictment, but was described as a former United States congressman well known in Monroe. The victims of the Ponzi scheme lived and conducted business primarily in northeastern Louisiana, the indictment said.

Laing used an IberiaBank account connected to Capital Energy Investments, a limited liability company registered in Breaux Bridge, to funnel the Ponzi scheme funds, the indictment said.

The company was founded in February 2017 and Laing is listed as the LLC’s sole owner. Laing used the company to defraud investors from April 16, 2018 through Nov. 1, 2018, when investors made wire transfers ranging from $45,000 to $345,000 to the company account, the indictment said.

Laing pitched investors on a low-risk, high-return opportunity through which his company would purchase oil and gas equipment for fracking wells and lease the equipment to oil and gas companies for exploration activities. The accused submitted false proposals and contracts to the investors throughout the scheme to sell them on the proposal, the indictment said.

Instead, Laing used a portion of investors’ funds to make “lulling payments” to other investors to simulate a return on their investment, solicit additional funds and avoid detection, and used the rest for his personal benefit, the indictment said.

Laing faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, restitution to the victims and a possible $250,000 fine, Joseph’s release said.

Eunice teen arrested in Nov. 4 drive-by shooting

A Eunice teen was arrested in a fatal Nov. 4 shooting near Central Middle School, KATC reports.

Lainey Lomas, 18, was booked on a count of principal to second-degree murder in the Nov. 4 shooting that killed De'Omaante "D Gotti" Frank, 21, of Eunice. Frank was riding a bicycle east on East Maple Avenue when a vehicle pulled beside him and seven to 10 shots rang out, Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot said.

The victim was struck once in the side and was transported to Acadian Medical Center in Eunice, where he later died. Lomas is accused of driving the vehicle in the drive-by shooting.

Demyron L Skinner, 19, was booked on a count of second-degree murder in the shooting last week.

Breaux Bridge pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle Wednesday

A Breaux Bridge man was struck by a vehicle and killed Wednesday night, KATC reports.

Marvin Zenon, 26, was hit in the 1100 block of Salt Mine Road by a vehicle traveling east and pronounced dead after arriving at an area hospital, the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office said. The crash happened around 8:40 p.m.

Deputies said no charges are pending in the fatal collision.

To contact a crime reporter at The Acadiana Advocate, email acadiananews@theadvocate.com or call (337) 534-0526.