Maria Elena Perez (J. Albert Diaz)
The Florida Bar filed formal ethics charges Monday against Coral Gables attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represented con man Nevin Shapiro and cooperated with the NCAA’s investigation of improper booster donations to athletes at the University of Miami.
The complaint outlined 15 violations of Bar rules against Perez for helping the NCAA get information by attending depositions related to the bankruptcy of Shapiro’s former company, Capitol Investments USA Inc.
She also faces three ethics violations involving a drug defendant she represented in 2010 when she was chastised by a federal judge.
Perez, who vigorously denied any wrongdoing when the allegations were raised against her, said she had no comment.
Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme through his wholesale grocery business. Once behind bars, Shapiro looked to shave his sentence. He said he lavished $2 million in gifts on UM football players and other athletes, including paying for prostitutes. The private university voluntarily withdrew from postseason play in 2011 and 2012.
The NCAA stripped the school of nine scholarships over two years but said its investigation was greatly compromised by Perez’s involvement.