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Former Hoosier sentenced in Florida Ponzi case

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Former Indianapolis developer Sydney “Jack” Williams has been sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty in September to failing to report millions of dollars he received in commissions related to a Florida investment scheme.

Williams, of Naples, Fla., the founder of Indianapolis retail-center development firm Williams Realty Group, was sentenced Tuesday in a federal court in New Jersey. He also received one year of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

The charge of subscribing to a false tax return carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Williams admitted to failing to report $6.4 million in income from 2004 through 2007 that he earned from Miami Beach, Fla.-based Capitol Investments USA.

Its CEO, Nevin Shapiro, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to money laundering and securities fraud in what authorities called a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He was sentenced in June to 20 years in prison.

According to court papers, Williams earned a 10-percent commission on loans to Capitol from a group of Indiana and Florida businesspeople who believed they were investing in a Florida grocery-wholesaling business.

Many of the loans came from friends Williams met when he was a Sigma Chi at Ball State University .

Williams, who personally invested more than $10 million in the scheme, received more than $12 million for recruiting more than 60 people who invested $307 million with Capitol, according to a government press release.

Williams, however, was unaware that Shapiro or Capitol was engaged in fraud, the government said.
 

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