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SEC: ex-Florida company ripped off thousands of $1.2 B scheme

MIAMI – The u.s. Securities and Exchange Commission is charging a former Florida-based company defrauded thousands of investors in a $1.2 billion scheme.

The SEC has filed a civil complaint Thursday in federal court in Miami, claims Robert H. Shapiro and his Woodbridge Group of Companies formerly headquartered in Boca Raton scammed more than 8,400 investors.

A federal judge ordered a temporary freeze against Shapiro and his companies and ordered them to account for investor money.

The SEC says Woodbridge claimed to operate a loan company that would pay investors a return of up to 10 percent per year. In reality, the SEC says the operation of a classic Ponzi scheme, in which newer investor money was used to pay older investors.

A Shapiro lawyer did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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