31 Jan 2019
A US court has ordered the owner of a company that ran a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme to pay a $100 million penalty and disgorge about $19 million in ill-gotten gains.
The company and its 281 related firms were also ordered to pay $892 million in disgorgement.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Robert H. Shapiro, CEO of Woodbridge Group of Companies, made ponzi scheme payments to investors and used a web of shell companies to conceal the scheme.
Woodbridge and other defendants were accused of operating the massive $1.2 billion ponzi scheme that defrauded 8,400 retail investors nationwide, many of them seniors who had invested retirement funds.
When Woodbridge’s fictitious business model collapsed, the company stopped paying investors and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the SEC said.
In an emailed statement to KYC360, Shapiro’s lawyer said: “Mr. Shapiro settled the SEC action without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint. He is happy to have put this behind him to allow all remaining resources to be focused on obtaining maximum recovery for the benefit of the Woodbridge estate.”
Woodbridge Group of Companies’ lawyer declined to comment.
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