Nevin Shapiro

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Nevin Shapiro (born April 13, 1969) is a former University of Miami football booster 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 cash, goods, prostitutes, assorted favors and on one occasion, an abortion to University of Miami football players, and even 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 fast 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 pled 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 Wilfork, Jon Beason, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and Sean Taylor. Sports publications have speculated that if the claims are true, the NCAA could impose the death penalty on the Miami football program.[8]

On October 22, 2013, the NCAA announced that the University of Miami football team will be docked three scholarships in each of the next three seasons as punishment for past rules violations. No further bowl ban will be enforced on the school as part of the sanctions. The rulings conclude an investigation that has dragged on for two-and-a-half years. The NCAA report noted "The committee acknowledged and accepted the extensive and significant self-imposed penalties by the university. Additional penalties in this case include a three-year probation period; a reduction in the number of football and men’s basketball scholarships; recruiting restrictions; a five-game suspension for the former head men’s basketball coach; and two-year show-cause orders for two former assistant football coaches and a former assistant men’s basketball coach."[9] Thanks to "unprecedented" self-imposed sanctions, the Miami Hurricanes escaped 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]


Further reading[edit]