University of Miami football players involved in gift scandal

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Collegiate and professional athletes excel on the field. To make it at either the college or professional level requires an intense amount of training and dedication. Unfortunately these athletes are sometimes the targets of fraudulent schemes by those who are talented not in athletics, but instead in confidence schemes and financial double dealing.

Such is the case involving a number of football players at the University of Miami. The players were alleged to have received cash and gifts including meals from Nevin Shapiro who is said to have been running a Ponzi scheme. The players are schedule to receive letters and subpoenas from the bankruptcy court demanding they return anything of value that they may have received from Shapiro. The items returned by the players will be included as assets in Shapiro’s bankruptcy filing.

An attorney for the bankruptcy trustee said the 72 Miami players involved in the action are not free to ignore the subpoenas and if they choose to do so, could face a contempt of court charge. The bankruptcy trustee could also order the players be brought into court.

The attorney spokesperson for the bankruptcy court trustee said the court is also interested in recovering any money that may have been given to a former assistant head coach for the Hurricanes as a loan from Shapiro. The attorney for the bankruptcy trustee is encouraging the former coach to come forward voluntarily.

A considerable amount of the evidence against the players came from a Yahoo! Sports report that broke the scandal. Available records show some of the transactions, but many are not easily traceable.

The bankruptcy court has recovered around $19 million dollars of funds given to Shapiro to run a bogus wholesale food business. The bankruptcy court is attempting to recover $111 million dollars.

To date, none of the 72 University of Miami players have contacted the bankruptcy court to return any of the gifts they may have received from the alleged Ponzi schemer.

Source: Miami Herald “Miami Hurricanes’ accused players may have to pay back Shapiro benefits,” Barry Jackson, Aug. 30, 2011