Police arrest Henri Zogaib, the Madoff of motorsports - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Police arrest Henri Zogaib, the Madoff of motorsports

Police arrest Henri Zogaib, the Madoff of motorsports

Former race-car driver Henri Zogaib, accused last July of involving fellow drivers, crewmen and team owners in a Ponzi scheme comparable to the one launched by New York financier Bernie Madoff, was finally arrested Feb. 12 in Central Florida on an organized fraud charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said Friday.

Investigators believe that Zogaib--through his company, Executive Investment Group--took money from 19 investors with the promise of large returns. Instead, he used the money himself, in part to fund his racing efforts in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

Zogaib, 36, calls himself a “Florida-based entrepreneur” on his Facebook page, but past associates prefer other adjectives to describe him. Among those who have accused Zogaib of illegal activity is former Champ Car driver Ryan Dalziel, who won the recent 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Action Express team. Dalziel sued Zogaib and won a settlement over investments he made with his former Samax Racing teammate that, Dalziel said, caused both him and his father to lose their homes.

“I have a judgment against him for more than $600,000,” Dalziel said, “but that doesn't mean I'll ever see any of it.”

Law enforcement officials suggest Zogaib's investment claims--which had him convincing investors that he was the close friend of an iron ore magnate that would help him make a quick 38-percent return on investors' money--cost his customers at least $5 million. But Dalziel said he expects the figure is closer to $30 million.

Others who invested include NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger, Samax team owner Peter Baron and fellow Grand-Am driver J.C France, son of Grand-Am founder Jim France. Zogaib co-drove with France, as well as a long list of top drivers, including Paul Tracy, Roberto Moreno, Allan McNish, Mike Rockenfeller and Lucas Luhr. At one point he was listed as the car owner for the Michael Shank Racing Riley-Lexus.

Dalziel and Zogaib won the Grand-Am race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2008, with Zogaib driving the first 25 minutes of the race and Dalziel the rest in the Samax BMW-Riley car.

It's safe to say the partnership is over.

“I only hope he gets what he deserves,” Dalziel said.

Police arrest Henri Zogaib, the Madoff of motorsports


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