The results are in from the first round of investigations by the Financial
Fraud Enforcement Task Force created in 2009. More than 300 people have
been charged criminally, and 189 are facing civil penalties as a result.
The cases represent the largest nationwide fraud investigation in the country's
history, collectively speaking, said FBI Executive Assistant Director
More than ten billion dollars in losses were represented in
Ponzi schemes, foreign currency trading scams, and other financial fraud to an estimated
142,947 people, according to a Department of Justice fact sheet.
Prosecutors state that the scams frequently involved the perpetrators preying
on friends, family, and members of their churches who trusted them. They
then allegedly used the money obtained to support lavish lifestyles. Supposedly,
the operator of one $880 million Ponzi scheme regularly bought floor seats
for NBA games.
The 189 defendants in these cases include a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors
say was led by Nevin Shapiro of Miami Beach, Florida. The former owner
of Capitol Investments USA told investors that they were buying into his
wholesale grocery distribution business. In reality, he was allegedly
using the money to pay earlier investors, settle illegal gambling debts,
and make payments on his yacht. Prosecutors state that at least 75 investors
lost $89 million in the scheme.