The founder of a South Florida real estate company pleaded guilty Wednesday to orchestrating a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of mostly elderly investors.
Robert H. Shapiro, the former CEO of the Woodbridge Group of Companies, admitted in Miami federal court that he “misappropriated” between $25 million and $95 million of the investors’ money to himself and his family to pay for an estate in the Los Angeles area, chartered planes, global travel, jewelry, diamonds and vintage wines. Shapiro also collected artworks by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Pierre-August Renoir and Alberto Giacometti. He also owned a Mercury convertible.
Now, all those luxury items belong to the feds.
Shapiro, 61, who was arrested in April, faces up to 20 years for wire and mail fraud conspiracy and an additional 5 years for tax evasion at his sentencing on Oct. 15 before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga. In pleading guilty, Shapiro avoids going to trial but still is looking at a total of 25 years in prison.
Thursday, August 08, 2019
One *billion* dollars in fraud
Pleading to a billion dollar fraud case is tough because the guidelines are so high. So sometimes it may be better to take your chances at trial (unless the defendant is permitted to plead to a 371 conspiracy with a 5-year cap). Here’s a Miami Herald article about a plea in the Woodbridge case for Robert Shapiro: