Sherman Oaks Man Gets 25 Years in Prison for $1.3 Billion Ponzi Scheme Defrauding 7,000 Investors

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A Sherman Oaks man has been sentenced by a Florida judge to 25 years in prison for orchestrating a $1.3 billion fraud scheme that stole money from at least 7,000 investors nationwide.

Court records show 61-year-old Robert Shapiro was sentenced Tuesday in Miami federal court after previously pleading guilty to mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. He was given the maximum sentence possible for those convictions.

Federal prosecutors say Shapiro’s Woodbridge Group had offices in California, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado and Connecticut. Investors were told Woodbridge held real estate loans paying them high levels of interest.

In fact, the real estate was also owned by Shapiro and sometimes didn’t exist. It was a Ponzi scheme paying older investors with money from newer ones.

Prosecutors say Shapiro will forfeit assets such as jewelry and paintings by artists including Picasso and Renoir.

Authorities have said he spent millions in investors’ money on expenditures such as $3.1 million for chartering private planes and travel, $6.7 million on his home and more than $672,000 on luxury cars.

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