A leading University of Miami athletics patron faces federal charges of running a $900 million Ponzi scheme that funded a lavish lifestyle of private skyboxes, diamond-studded gifts to pro athletes and a reputation as a deep-pocketed booster.
Nevin Shapiro, 41, was in federal custody Wednesday on charges of money laundering and securities fraud for allegedly duping investors into thinking they were paying into a successful grocery brokerage business based in Miami Beach.
Instead, prosecutors say the company, Capitol Investments USA, existed almost entirely on paper, with Shapiro paying existing investors with money from new ones and pocketing about $38 million in the process.
The charges outlined Wednesday reveal the latest Ponzi scandal in South Florida, this one with a distinctly athletic twist. Shapiro paid $150,000 to have a student-athlete lounge named after him at the University of Miami, whose website says Shapiro's ``heart has always bled green and orange.''
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