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Plea hearing set for defendant in $880M fraud case

Associated Press
August 23, 2010
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A Florida man accused of running a $880 million Ponzi scheme that authorities say paid for lavish spending sprees and sports philanthropy may have reached a deal with federal prosecutors.

Nevin Shapiro is due in court Sept. 15 for a plea agreement hearing on money laundering and securities fraud charges. Shapiro's attorney did not return a message Monday, and the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.

Prosecutors say the 41-year-old Miami Beach resident used a Florida-based company called Capitol Investments USA Inc. to raise nearly $900 million from investors who thought they were buying into a wholesale grocery distribution business.

Instead, prosecutors say, Shapiro left at least 60 investors in Florida, Indiana and New Jersey with about $80 million in losses after the scheme collapsed.

IBJ reported last month that Sydney “Jack” Williams, who founded locally based Williams Realty Group, has been accused of persuading more than a dozen Indiana investors from 2003 to 2009 to lend millions of dollars at high interest rates to Capitol Investments USA.

Shapiro allegedly used proceeds from duped investors to fund a lifestyle so lavish he once bought a professional athlete a pair of diamond-studded handcuffs. The athlete has not been identified.

Court documents show he was known for philanthropic donations to athletic groups and charities, and even had a student-athlete lounge named after him at the University of Miami after a $150,000 donation.

Charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission claim Shapiro promised risk-free annual returns as high as 26 percent by persuading investors to buy into his "grocery diversion" enterprise — a practice of buying low-cost groceries in one region of the country and reselling them in more expensive markets.

Prosecutors say Shapiro kept the scheme going by providing investors with fabricated invoices, fake purchase orders and bogus financial statements whenever one inquired about his returns, and by making principal payments to current investors with money from new investors.

Terms of the plea agreement have not been disclosed.


 

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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