Nevin Shapiro, Miami Beach Ponzi Schemer, Pleads Guilty
Shapiro plead guilty in a federal court in Newark, New Jersey today. Between 2005 and 2009 Shapiro ran what he claimed to be a grocery diverting business while recruiting investors. Depsite telling investors it was a risk free deal and providing fabricated financial documents, he admitted that the company had virtually no income generating business.
Shapiro used his prominence as a donor to UM's Athletic Department -- he had an athlete lounge named in his honor -- to pump up his credibility in the community.
Though, at the time he was arrested the SEC said that most of the money went to "a $5 million home in Miami Beach, a $1 million boat, luxury cars, expensive clothes, high-stakes gambling, and season tickets to premium sporting events."
New Times columnist Luther Campbell, a noted supporter of UM Football in his own right, described his experience with Shapiro:
He had some serious eye candy walking inside his house, like his beautiful black girlfriend. And he had some fine Asian girls in there too. Shapiro took me into this room where he had on display all these jerseys that had been actually worn by former players. He bragged he was friends with a lot of the guys. He name-dropped Jonathan Vilma and Vince Wilfork (of the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, respectively).Recently, Shapiro has said he has written a tell-all book at the Miami football program detailing NCAA violations. He also complained that he felt used by former UM players he considered friends. This coming from a man who just admitted he scammed people out of $880 million dollars.
He told me he was in investing in import and export of groceries. He tried to explain his business model to me, but it was over my head. We had one more meeting over dinner. He introduced me to his supposed partner and some sports agent who was going to be involved as well. But there was something off about the whole thing. I kept reading his partner's body language and he looked like he was just there for show, like he was doing Shapiro a favor.