Former high school hoops coach arrested for running Madoff-like Ponzi scheme

Cameron Smith

It turns out Ponzi schemes aren’t just for the big league boys anymore; they’re being perpetrated by high school coaches, too.

Former South Ft. Myers (Fla.) Cypress Lake basketball coach Robert Schnepp — Pasco County Sherriff's Department

As reported by the Naples Daily News and a variety of other Florida news outlets, a former high school basketball coach in South Fort Myers was arrested on charges of operating a $200,000 Ponzi scheme.

Robert Schnepp was arrested and charged on his 51st birthday in Hudson, Fla, after police uncovered substantial evidence that he had been falsely telling friends, teachers and other high school coaches that he was running a qualified investment advisor, then using their trust to “manage” their personal fortunes.

Schnepp’s scheme was reportedly uncovered when one of his investors was issued checks that promptly bounced when their recipients attempted to cash them.

According to investigators, the former coach used the investment money to pay off personal debts and expenses as well as prior investors, keeping just enough validity among his investors to run under without significant suspicion from 2009-2011.

Schnepp remains in jail days after his arrest and is facing nearly three dozen felony charges for defrauding investors, claims that are similar to the ones that were served against Bernie Madoff.

While Schnepp’s bilking may have been nowhere near as significant as that which was put together by Madoff’s massive operation, it was no less serious for the middle class families he goaded into investing in his funds. Now he could find himself imprisoned for years to come as a result.

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