Robert Shapiro Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for $1.3 Billion Ponzi Scheme
Robert Shapiro of the Woodbridge Group of Companies was sentenced to 25 years in prison on August 15, 2019 for a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme. This comes after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. Among other nefarious endeavors, the Woodbridge Group was running a 30-person boiler room operation devoted to cold-calling unsuspecting retirees. All in all, Robert Shapiro scammed 7,000 investors across the country over five years, from 2012 to 2017.
Robert Shapiro used his investment firm, known as the Woodbridge Group of Companies and based in Sherman Oaks, California, to entice investors to invest in over 200 real estate properties in high-end locales like Beverly Hills, California and Aspen, California. A network of local brokers—some unregistered and others selling away from their member firms—tantalized investors with promises of steady, guaranteed returns. In reality, the money was invested in a network of shell companies controlled by Robert Shapiro and his associates, who siphoned money away from later investors to assuage the fears of earlier investors—one hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.
While Robert Shapiro defrauded property investors nationwide, certain cities have attempted to shine a light on the victims of what is being called the largest Ponzi scheme since Bernie Madoff confessed to his massive scam in December 2008. The Detroit Free Press investigated how Shapiro wreaked havoc on Michigan residents, including a retired schoolteacher who hoped to use investment proceeds to renovate her kitchen. Instead, she walked into a nightmare, left humiliated by the actions of Robert Shapiro and the Woodridge Group, embarrassed to even tell her friends and family that she has been the victim of a financial crime.
There is no reason to be ashamed if you have been victimized by financial fraudsters who exploit the hopes of vulnerable people. If you have questions about your investments, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta. Call (877) 238-4175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for your free consultation with a securities attorney.