NEWARK, N.J., July 14 (UPI) -- A Florida man was indicted Wednesday in an alleged $880 million Ponzi scheme tied to a phantom grocery distribution business, authorities in New Jersey said.
Nevin Shapiro, 41, of Miami Beach, Fla., the former owner and chief executive officer of Capitol Investments USA Inc., is accused of soliciting hundreds of millions of dollars from people in New Jersey and elsewhere who thought they were investing in his wholesale grocery distribution enterprise, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a release.
Federal authorities allege Capitol had no active wholesale grocery business at the time, and from 2005 to 2009 Shapiro used new investor funds to make principal and interest payments to earlier investors. He allegedly siphoned off $35 million to underwrite his lavish lifestyle.
Wednesday's indictment is a follow-up to a criminal complaint that led him to surrender to FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents April 21. He is now charged with securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.
Shapiro and Capitol went into bankruptcy in November 2009, owing more than $100 million to alleged victim investors.