But Hernandez now argues that Shapiro’s perjury disclosure to the federal judge should compel her to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the Miami prosecutors knew about his investment scheme in the hope that Caro can obtain a new trial.
“In my judgment, this validates what we have been arguing and presenting to the court all along,” said Hernandez, who plans to incorporate Shapiro’s disclosure into his effort for a new trial.
When Shapiro was targeted by federal agents, he hired Lewis and Tein and agreed to pay them $500,000, according to his Florida Bar complaint. But he could not come up with all the money, so at a steep discount he agreed to sell them his 58-foot Riviera yacht that he had regularly used to entertain UM football stars.
In the complaint, Shapiro said his lawyers should have tried to work out an immunity deal not only for his money-laundering offense in Caro’s case but also for his Ponzi scheme. Shapiro claims that sometime in 2008, before he was called to testify at Caro’s trial, Lewis learned from a Justice Department source that his client was under investigation for the Ponzi scheme.
But instead of protecting him, Shapiro said in the complaint, both Lewis and Tein advised him to cooperate with prosecutors and testify at Caro’s trial – even if it meant being asked cross-examination questions about his business, Capitol Investments Inc.
Shapiro said in the complaint that Lewis and Tein did not alert the judge that “there may be issues 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.”
By the end of 2008, Lewis informed Shapiro that he had been in contact with his Justice Department “insider,” who revealed that he was going to be charged with securities fraud in New Jersey. On New Year’s Eve, Shapiro hired the pair to represent them in the Ponzi defense, at a monthly fee of $50,000.
Shapiro said both lawyers assured him that everything was “under control,” and that “he would never see the inside of a jail,” according to his Florida Bar complaint.
Shapiro said he socialized with his lawyers, attending a “piano night” at Guy Lewis’ home, where they sipped on Macallan’s 65-year-old scotch whiskey valued at $246,000 a bottle, the complaint says. They also enjoyed boating excursions together on Shapiro’s yacht, and dined at Prime 112 and other upscale Miami Beach restaurants.
Ultimately, Shapiro paid Lewis and Tein more than $900,000 for their services, according to the complaint. But soon after he was charged with securities fraud in April 2010, they dropped him as a client.
The following year, Shapiro was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $83 million to about 60 fleeced investors. Lewis and Tein were compelled to return $400,000 of their fees to a court-appointed trustee who had taken over Shapiro’s bankrupt business as part of a recovery effort.