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The head of a Sherman Oaks firm accused of bilking thousands of investors in a $1.3-billion Ponzi scheme was arrested Thursday along with two associates on federal criminal charges.

Robert Shapiro, 61, the owner of the Woodbridge Group of Cos., and two other company executives were accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and other violations of federal law in an indictment unsealed in the Southern District of Florida.

Shapiro, of Sherman Oaks, Dane R. Roseman, 35, of Encino and Ivan Acevedo, 42, of Chatsworth were arrested in California and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Los Angeles. Roseman and Acevedo were released on bond, while Shapiro remained in custody. (Shapiro should not be confused with L.A. celebrity attorney Robert L. Shapiro.)

Ryan O’Quinn, Shapiro’s attorney, said his client “denies the allegations in the indictment and will vigorously defend himself in the appropriate forum.”

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