Shaquille O’Neal may have hung out with, and even bench-pressed, accused Florida Ponzi man Nevin Shapiro, but he flatly denies Shapiro ever gave him a pair of diamond-studded handcuffs.
Shapiro, who liked to hang out with pro athletes, was arrested last week on charges of running a $900 million Ponzi scheme. He promised investors annual returns of as much as 25 percent from buying cheap groceries in one region and selling them in another locale where prices were higher. In a press release last week, prosecutors said Shapiro gave the cuffs to a "prominent professional athlete.''
But Shaq-Fu karate-chopped that idea on Sunday. Shapiro only helped him get a deal on the diamonds - Shaq can obviously get his own. But, he did confirm the existence of a picture showing him bench-pressing Shapiro, which we'd love to see.
"Did he give me diamond handcuffs? No. I had my own handcuffs,'' O'Neal told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after the Cavs beat the Chicago Bulls. "His girlfriend worked at a jewelry store and they gave me a deal on the diamonds.''
"He was an associate," O'Neal added, saying he never did business with Shapiro. "A lot of guys in Miami hang out. I'm the kind of guy, I'm nice to everybody."
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade also confirmed to the Miami Herald that he had been on Shapiro's yacht and briefly rented a house from a woman Shapiro dated.