Robert Shapiro, the former chief executive officer of Woodbridge Group of Companies, pleaded guilty to running a $1.3 billion fraud that caused more than 7,000 investors to lose money, according to prosecutors.
Shapiro, 61, of Sherman Oaks, California, promised returns as high as 10% from investments in loans to property developers.
Instead, he used money from new investors to repay earlier ones and stole as much as $95 million, routing money through a network of 270 limited liability companies he controlled, Miami U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said in a statement Thursday.
Losses to investors are expected to exceed $100 million, both sides agreed in a court filing. The scam ran from July 2012 until December 2017, when Woodbridge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Shapiro pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion Wednesday in Miami.