CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Nevin Shapiro is apparently not returning to Miami anytime soon.
Maria Elena Perez, the attorney for the former Miami booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect whose claims of rampant rule breaking sparked an investigation into the Hurricanes' football program, said in an email to The Associated Press that her client will not be transferred to a South Florida prison after all.
"Mr. Shapiro is no longer coming to Miami and we are now awaiting his re-designation, which could take some time," Perez wrote.
A call placed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons late Monday afternoon was not immediately returned. The 42-year-old Shapiro, a longtime resident of the Miami area, has been held for the past couple weeks at a facility in Tallahassee, Fla.
He was expecting a transfer to a prison in the Miami area to serve the bulk of his 20-year prison sentence for bilking investors out of what federal prosecutors say was $930 million. Of that, Shapiro has been ordered to repay nearly $83 million, and he plans to raise at least some of that money by writing a tell-all book about his experiences with the Hurricanes.
Shapiro began making allegations about the Miami program around a year ago, and his claims became widely known earlier this month after Yahoo Sports published what he described as a "tsunami" of violations that could adversely affect the Hurricanes for years to come. He claimed to have provided 72 football players — 65 of whom suited up for the Hurricanes — with cars, money, gifts and even prostitutes between 2002 and 2010.
Shapiro's claims also implicate 10 Miami football and basketball coaches, none of whom are still employed by the university.
On Monday, Miami President Donna Shalala reaffirmed the school's commitment to the investigation into Shapiro's claims and compliance practices at the university, saying that "you don't time that process with a stopwatch."
The NCAA is expected to rule early this week, possibly Tuesday, on the status of Miami football players already declared ineligible by the university. The NCAA has been asked to reinstate those players, though it's certainly possible that the college sports governing body will, at the very least, decree that some players have to miss games because of their interactions with Shapiro.
"This guy is not going to deter the University of Miami from moving forward, and nor our football program," coach Al Golden said Monday in his weekly appearance on WQAM radio.
Miami opens its season at Maryland on Sept. 5. The NCAA decisions will play a major role in deciding which Hurricanes actually take the field for that game.
Perez said Shapiro is being held at a special housing unit in Tallahassee, in solitary confinement, in part because of the media attention his case and story have generated in recent weeks. Prison officials, Perez said, are erring on a cautious side given Shapiro's high profile right now.
"It may create a safety concern for him if he is placed in general population," Perez wrote.