Stamford Advocate

Conn. man Ian Bick shares fraud story with HBO Max

- By Shayla Colon

DANBURY — By the age of 21, Danbury’s Ian Bick had defrauded investors of nearly $500,000, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He’d become accustomed to first-class travel, expensive nights out at the casinos and his personal watercraft.

“In my mind … I was the next young millionair­e entreprene­ur, so I start[ed] spending it as if I already had it,” Bick said in an interview.

Bick, who became the owner and operator of the Tuxedo Junction nightclub in Danbury at the age of 19, is sharing his story in a new HBO Max series entitled ‘Generation Hustle,’ which begins airing April 22. The 10-episode series takes viewers behind a number of entreprene­urial ventures created by young minds that did not always end well.

Bick’s story is examined in the series’ second episode, titled “The Party’s Over,” chroniclin­g how his ambition led him to build a concert promoting business on the backs of borrowed dollars, which were later used to splurge on a lavish lifestyle without much return.

The series’ director, George Plamondon, said they tried to bring a “balanced approach” with perspectiv­es from investors who lost their money, the case prosecutor and Bick’s thoughts because he did “impact a lot of lives through his actions.” Yet, the question of whether Bick was running a Ponzi scheme, “intentiona­lly misleading people and lying to people,” is at the center of the episode.

“And that is where I think the story gets fascinatin­g, because in Ian’s mind, there’s a gray area of ‘Oh, I was just trying to buy myself enough time so that i could make back my investors’ money,’ but the means by which he did that are what got him in trouble because he wasn’t honest with them,” Plamondon said.

In the HBO trailer, audiences get a glimpse of Bick’s perception. Propped center stage in an empty nightclub dimly lit by party lights, he said, “I don’t think I was a con artist,” to the camera. After a quick shot of Bick pulling stacks of cash toward him, he gestured a slight nod and shoulder shrug stating, “I guess it’s a Ponzi scheme depending on how you look at it.”

Bick told Hearst Connecticu­t Media he didn’t even know who Bernie Madoff was, much less what a doesn’t consider himself a “run of the mill con artist.”

“I wouldn’t label myself as a con artist

because I did not set out to defraud anyone, it’s unfortunat­e that it happened and we strayed away, but it’s a learning lesson,” he said.

Instead, he chalked it up to being a “cocky, overconfid­ent” young man who had a ton of “unguided ambition,” and counted his chickens before they hatched.

Angie Day, a showrunner for the series, said Ian was an attractive subject because of his “natural hustler” persona.

“He had so much initiative and so much ability well beyond his years and all of those things should have led to a success story, but I think he took that a little too far,” she said.

“With Ian, you get the sense that if he had just made a few decisions differentl­y, he could have been the kind of wunderkind success that people said he was,” she added.

Now, seven years later, Bick has completed his prison sentence and is working to pay back the $480,635 he was ordered by the court to return and wrapping up a three-year stint of federal probation.

Back in 2019, when Bick was first released, he told Hearst Connecticu­t Media he was looking to get back into the nightclub business, however, he couldn’t be further from there now.

“My mentality [back in 2019] was still a lot different than what it is now. I hadn’t fully matured or grown up or reached a level I needed to be at. I was still in that same mentality I was in before prison, granted I had learned some lessons,” Bick said.

 ?? H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? Ian Bick, of Danbury, is featured in a new HBO series called “Generation Hustle.” Bick was convicted of defrauding investors in 2016 and served a prison sentence. He is out of jail, on probation and working now.
H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticu­t Media Ian Bick, of Danbury, is featured in a new HBO series called “Generation Hustle.” Bick was convicted of defrauding investors in 2016 and served a prison sentence. He is out of jail, on probation and working now.

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