PASCO COUNTY, Fla.- A former basketball coach at Cypress Lake High School is under arrest for scamming friends and fellow employees out of approximately $200,000. The joint investigation was conducted by the Lee County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State of Indiana Securities Division of the Prosecution Assistance Unit.
The investigation found that 51-year-old Robert Schnepp, convinced friends, teachers and fellow coaches that he was an investment advisor and could help them make money. During a three-year period, Schnepp continued soliciting money for the scam. Schnepp even sent out bogus quarterly statements to his victims that indicated their investments were doing well.
The scheme began to unravel when some of Schnepp's victims asked to cash in some of their returns. Several checks Schnepp issued to the victims bounced. At this point, several of the victims became suspicious and contacted the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
The investigation shows that Schnepp operated a Ponzi scheme from 2008-2011. He solicited money from the victims, but instead of investing the money in the stock market, Schnepp would use it to pay previous investors and to pay for personal expenses. The investigation also revealed Schnepp was not licensed as an investment advisor in Florida during that three-year period.
Schnepp faces nearly three dozen felony charges for defrauding investors. With assistance from the Lee County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Warrants Unit, Schnepp was picked up yesterday in Hudson. Schnepp is in the Pasco County Jail pending his transfer to Lee County.