Executive Who Owned and Operated $1.3 Billion Florida Ponzi Scheme Sentenced to More than Two Decades in Prison
Earlier this year, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida indicted Robert H. Shapiro and two other men on investment fraud charges. Mr. Shapiro—the owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Woodbridge Group—was accused of operating a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme in Florida. In total, more than 8,000 investors, many of them elderly, were defrauded as part of the scam. On October 15th. 2019, Mr. Shapiro was officially sentenced to more than two decades in prison.
Former Woodbridge CEO Robert Shapiro Set to Serve 25 Years in Prison
Federal securities regulators initially opened an investigation into the Woodbridge group of companies in late 2017. Eventually, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) determined that Woodbridge was little more than a Ponzi scheme.
Based in Palm Beach County, Florida, the Woodbridge Group was made up of approximately 230 individual companies. Mr. Shapiro and other high-ranking executives of the firm used the collection of entities to shuffle money around—paying off the original investors with the funds of new investors.
After reviewing the case and listening to the impact on victims, a Miami judge gave former Woodbridge founder and CEO Robert H. Shapiro the maximum possible criminal sentence. He is set to serve 25 years in prison. In addition, Mr. Shapiro has been ordered to personally pay at more than $100 million in disgorgement and restitution to affected investors.
At Least 8,450 Investors Were Defrauded by the Florida-Based Ponzi Scheme
According to reports, at least 8,450 investors were defrauded as part of the Woodbridge Group Ponzi scheme. Mr. Shapiro used a set of unlicensed agents and licensed securities brokers to sell Woodbridge financial products to investors. Notably, these financial products often carried high fees and commissions. Investors were lured in with false promises that they could make a safe, above market returns in income-producing real estate. In reality, Woodbridge made few legitimate investments.
Although the Woodbridge Group of companies has been held liable for more than $900 million in civil penalties, it is unclear how much money will be available for investors. In court documents, investigators estimate that investors will be able to recoup somewhere between 30 percent and 60 percent of their losses. If you lost money investing in the Woodbridge Ponzi scheme, an experienced securities fraud lawyer can help you explore and pursue every available alternative option for recovering full and fair financial recovery.
Consult With Our Miami Ponzi Scheme Attorney Right Away
At Carlson & Associates, P.A., our top Miami Ponzi scheme attorneys represent victims of Ponzi schemes. If you or someone you know lost money investing in the Woodbridge Group or any other Ponzi scheme, we are here to help. Call our firm now for a confidential, no obligation assessment of your case. From our law office in Miami, serve investors in Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, Broward County, and throughout the state of Florida.