Nevin Shapiro

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Nevin Shapiro
Born (1969-04-13) April 13, 1969 (age 48)
Brooklyn, New York
Known for Convicted white collar criminal of a Ponzi scheme

Nevin Karey Shapiro (born April 13, 1969) is a convicted felon who is currently imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme. According to interviews, he engaged in rampant violations of NCAA rules over eight years as a booster for University of Miami athletes.[1][2] Shapiro allegedly provided football players cash, goods, prostitutes, assorted favors, and purchased a yacht on which sex parties with prostitutes were held.

Early life[edit]

Shapiro was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved with his family to Miami Beach, Florida at an early age. He graduated in 1986 from Miami Beach Senior High School in the same class as film director Brett Ratner. Shapiro, who is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, was a member of the school's basketball and wrestling teams.[1] A year after he graduated his mother married Richard Armand Adam, who operated RAA International, a real estate loan company. Adam moved the family to Lighthouse Point and bought two yachts. In 1997 Adam was charged in Canada with business fraud, and was accused of stealing $6 million by collecting fees on loans that never materialized. Adam eventually served six years in Canadian prisons.

Ponzi scheme[edit]

Shapiro subsequently started Capitol Investments USA, which he claimed bought wholesale groceries and shipped them to more expensive markets (although he subsequently said that he never actually sold the groceries). Shapiro's Ponzi scheme was based on attracting investors to Capitol Investments.[3]

He promised investors they would make 10 to 26 percent commissions every month.[3]

In 2003, his business grew very quickly through connections with Sherwin Jarol in Chicago, Craig Currie in New Jersey, and Sydney "Jack" Williams who had real estate in Naples, Florida, and Indianapolis.[3]

According to FBI Special Agent Gregory Yankow in a Federal Criminal Complaint dated April 20, 2010 (Case No. 10-8082), Shapiro "directed others to create and show to the investors documents fraudulently touting Capitol’s profitability. Those documents included: financial statements; profit and loss figures fraudulently representing that Capitol’s wholesale grocery business was generating tens of millions of dollars in annual sales; personal and business tax returns for Shapiro and Capitol also fraudulently reflecting those sales; and numerous invoices fraudulently reflecting transactions between Capitol and other companies in the wholesale grocery business."[4]

According to the Criminal Complaint, Shapiro incurred "millions of dollars in debts resulting from illegal gambling on sporting events; more than $400,000 for floor seats to the Miami Heat professional basketball team; approximately $26,000 monthly for mortgage payments on his residence in Miami Beach which was recently appraised at approximately $5.3 million; approximately $7,250 monthly for payments on a $1.5 million Riviera yacht; approximately $4,700 monthly for the lease of a Mercedes-Benz automobile;" and an undisclosed amount "for a pair of diamond-studded handcuffs, which he gifted to a prominent professional athlete." [4]

The FBI reported that he had diverted $35 million[4] for his personal use from 2005 to 2009. Shapiro allegedly rented his yacht to NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Garnett and pledged $150,000 to the University of Miami to have his name placed on the student lounge.[3]

The scheme fell apart in November 2009 during the late-2000s recession, when Chicago real estate investor Sherwin Jarol sued to force him into involuntary bankruptcy after Shapiro had stopped making payments to his investors. More than 60 investors (largely from Naples, Indianapolis, and Chicago), including Barry Alvarez, filed claims (Alvarez had $600,000 in the scheme).[3]

In April 21, 2010 he was charged in New Jersey with securities fraud and money laundering.

On September 15, 2010, he pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark, New Jersey in U.S. v. Shapiro, 10-cr-00471 to one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. On June 7, 2011, he was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and ordered to make $82,657,362.29 in restitution.[4][5] He is currently serving time at Federal Correctional Institution, Butner Low (inmate #61311-050), and is scheduled for release in October, 2027 (as of October, 2013).[6]

The civil case in Miami is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Shapiro, 10-cv-21281.[5]

University of Miami scandal[edit]

In August 2010 Shapiro told the Miami Herald that he was writing a book The Real U: 2001 to 2010. Inside the Eye of the Hurricane in which he promised to tell how Miami had violated NCAA rules affecting more than 100 players. "Once the players turned pro, they turned their back on me. It made me feel like a used friend," he said.[3]

Shapiro was reported to have spent $2 million from 2002 to 2010 boosting Miami sports—primarily football—but also including contact with the basketball team under Frank Haith.

In 2002 he paid $1.5 million for 30 percent in [7] a sports management company called Axcess Sports, which had been started by Michael Huyghue. The agency signed several Hurricanes including Vince Wilfork.[3]

On August 16, 2011 in a jailhouse interview with Yahoo! Sports writer Charles Robinson (conducted over 100 hours), Shapiro made good on the promise for the revelations exposing a lack of NCAA-mandated institutional oversight at the university which apparently allowed his illegal and unethical behaviors to continue unimpeded for years. Thus far 72 athletes are alleged by Shapiro to have received "impermissible" benefits from him between 2002 and 2010. The players include Vince Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and the late Sean Taylor.

The school imposed significant penalties on itself, including the suspension of eight football players and removing itself from post-season bowl contention for one year. On October 22, 2013, after two-and-a-half years of investigation, the NCAA announced that the University of Miami football team would be docked three scholarships in each of the next three seasons, a three-year probation, recruiting restrictions, a five-game suspension for the men’s basketball coach, and a two-year show-cause order on a total of three former assistant football and basketball coaches.[8] Considering such a long investigation yielded very little incriminating evidence, it was widely viewed that the NCAA investigation and the media attention to the case did not match the relatively minor infractions that were proven to be committed. Before the NCAA penalties were announced, it had been revealed that enforcement staff for the NCAA had paid Shapiro's lawyer $25,000 to call in University of Miami personnel, during an unassociated legal deposition for Shapiro's bankruptcy, and ask a specific list of questions related to the University's scandal.[9] Shapiro's attorney used her subpoena power in the bankruptcy case to question two witnesses who were crucial to the NCAA’s case. The NCAA had no subpoena power, and neither witness had any obligation to talk to the association. The backlash from the revelations about the NCAA's activities, coupled with the University's unprecedented self-imposed sanctions, helped the Miami Hurricanes escape additional harsh penalties from the NCAA.[10]

Photos in the Yahoo article showed him with Kellen Winslow Jr. and Joe Kolchinsky in the VIP section of the Opium Garden Nightclub in 2005; Shapiro with Haith, Joe Kolchinksy and University of Miami President Donna Shalala in 2008 as he donated $50,000 to the basketball program as well as $3 million in other donations to undisclosed recipients; and with Vince Wilfork in 2002.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Robinson, Charles (2011-08-16). "Renegade Miami football booster spells out illicit benefits to players". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  2. ^ Smith, Erick (2011-08-15). "Lawyer: Nevin Shapiro is helping NCAA's investigation of Miami". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Tim Elfrink (2010-12-16). "Nevin Shapiro: Miami's Caligula". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  4. ^ a b c d "CEO of Capitol Investments USA, Inc. Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for $930 Million Ponzi Scheme Based on Phony Grocery Business". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  5. ^ a b Voreacos, David (2011-06-08). "Wholesale Grocery Owner Gets 20-Year Sentence in $930 Million Ponzi Scam". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  6. ^ "Federal Bureau of Prisons". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  7. ^ Sports Agent Blog (2011-08-16). "Miami Booster Claims UFL Commissioner Provided Benefits To Student-Athletes". Business Insider. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  8. ^ "University of Miami lacked institutional control resulting in a decade of violations". NCAA. 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2015-01-10. 
  9. ^ "Source:Shapiro lawyer got money". 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2015-01-10. 
  10. ^ Andrea Adelson, October 22, 2013

Further reading[edit]