New Ponzi Scheme Uncovered by Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
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 Shawn Henry.
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.