Newark, NJ – Nevin K. Shapiro, a once-prominent Florida broker who allegedly scammed investors from New Jersey and other states, agreed to plead guilty to charges in connection with an $880 million Ponzi scheme, as reported by The Star-Ledger.
Shapiro, 41, of Miami Beach, was charged with defrauding over 60 people and has remained in custody since his April arrest. He is now scheduled to appear for a plea agreement hearing on September 15 in federal court in Newark. He is charged with securities fraud and money laundering.
Shapiro owned and operated Capitol Investments USA Inc. Under the company name, he promised investors returns of up to 26 percent for using their money to buy wholesale groceries and resell them for a profit.
According to a civil complaint filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Shapiro honored many contracts and paid roughly $769 million back to investors. But, authorities say, Capitol Investments had less to do with wholesale groceries and more to do with using investments to repay old debts, making the scenario a classic Ponzi scheme.
Authorities claim Shapiro spent up to $35 million of the funds on himself. Items of purchase include Miami Heat tickets, a $4,700-a-month leased Mercedes and handcuffs he allegedly gifted to Shaquille O’Neal, although O’Neal denies receiving any such gift.
Shapiro also donated $150,000 to the University of Miami, which in turn named a student-athlete lounge in his honor.