While building a case against convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, federal authorities talked to people in the University of Miami's Athletic Department and were poised to talk to former and current players, a federal prosecutor said Friday.
Gil Childers, who was a part of the New Jersey prosecution team that investigated Shapiro's $930 million Ponzi scheme, told NBC Miami that the recent allegations that have surfaced about UM were not new news to him and that Shapiro's connections to the university were not that hard to find.
"We did reach out to the university and that did include some people who were directly involved in the Athletic Department," Childers said.
Shapiro recently alleged that he provided improper benefits to 72 current and former UM student athletes, mostly football players. The NCAA has initiated an investigation into the claims, which could result in major violations and stiff punishment for the Hurricanes.
Many have speculated that Shapiro is flipping on the U so he can have his 20-year prison sentence reduced. That might not necessarily be the case.
Shapiro had already offered some of the same information to federal authorities during their investigation months ago, Childers said.
"A lot of what is in the media, while it may be a revelation to the public, it is not a revelation to the government," he said.
Childers said he wasn't allowed to name any names but that some players may have also been interviewed who may have taken gifts and money from Shapiro.
He also said they were ready to call in former and current players to bolster their case against Shapiro.
Still, some players may be questioned about their encounters with Shapiro as a bankruptcy trustee ordered by the court tries to recoup some of the $82 million lost by investors in the Ponzi scheme.