Convicted Ponzi schemer admits to perjury
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Nevin Shapiro, the convicted Ponzi schemer at the center of the NCAA investigation into the University of Miami's athletics program has admitted he lied in federal court.
Hurricanes fans are now questioning the team's former booster's credibility once again. "If you had the hubris to choose to not tell the truth in federal court, it'd be very difficult for me to believe that, when you're asked by the NCAA, that you would necessarily feel compelled to tell the truth this time," said a man on UM's Coral Gables campus.
Shapiro said his lawyers, Guy Lewis and Michael Tein, allowed him to lie under oath in the December 2008 trial against Juan Rene Caro, convicted of a multi-million dollar check cashing scheme. In a May 17 letter he sent to a federal judge, Shapiro wrote, "I believe a terrible injustice has occurred at the hands of my former attorneys, and it is my opinion that Mr. Caro was not given a fair trial as a result of the misconduct of my former attorneys."
Shapiro, who took a $400,000 loan from Caro, was granted immunity in that case when he testified that he ran a grocery brokerage business that was in fact a Ponzi scheme. He said Lewis and Tein knew the truth all along.
Now behind bars, Shapiro landed the UM's athletic program in an NCAA investigation by claiming he gave gifts to Miami Hurricanes players. Shapiro said Caro did not receive a fair trial. In a complaint to the Florida Bar, Shapiro said his lawyers never told the judge that "there may be issues with with my testimony in that ... questions [by Caro's lawyer] may have invited an answer from me that could result in my further self-incrimination and/or in my committing perjury."
The Florida Bar is investigating Shapiro's claim, and Caro's lawyer is pushing for a new trial.
The matter now shifts to the statements Shapiro gave to the NCAA in which he claimed that he gave UM athletes cash, strip club outings, prostitutes and other rewards. "This guy can lie, he can say if this is true or not," said UM student Katrina Ternus, who added she would need to see "any other evidence" in order for her to believe him.
The University of Miami is scheduled to go before the NCAA Committee on infractions sometime in mid-June. It is unclear how this new information might affect the NCAA's investigation and decision.
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