Robert Shapiro, who formerly served as chief executive officer of Woodbridge Group of Companies, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion in Miami.
Under Shapiro’s leadership, Woodbridge perpetrated a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme from July 2012 until December 2017, when Woodbridge went bankrupt.
Shapiro faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on October 15. Last November, he agreed to pay $120 million to resolve civil claims related to the scheme brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Losses to the more than 7,000 Woodbridge investors are expected to exceed $100 million.
In a statement, Ryan O’Quinn, Shapiro’s attorney, said, “Mr. Shapiro has taken personal responsibility for the failure of Woodbridge. “His guilty plea follows his decision to voluntarily place hundreds of millions of dollars of assets under bankruptcy court supervision and the consensual resolution of the SEC enforcement investigation. Mr. Shapiro hopes that these decisions allow the estate to focus on maximizing the value of the real estate portfolio for the benefit of Woodbridge’s creditors.”