BULLETIN: Feds Say Scott Rothstein IT Associates Created Fake Banking Website; Meanwhile, Attorney Authored Bogus Letter And Another Associate ‘Posed’ As Banker And Plaintiff In Nonexistent Cases
BULLETIN: Four associates of jailed Ponzi schemer and disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein have been charged criminally by federal prosecutors in Florida with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The new defendants include an attorney at Rothstein’s defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm, two IT employees of the firm and a Rothstein associate in the nightclub business.
The charges came in the form of a criminal information, which suggests the defendants are cooperating in the probe and ultimately may plead guilty to avoid the risk of indictment on other charges.
As has been the case with other Ponzi probes, the details emerging in the Rothstein case read like an impossible work of fiction — but prosecutors say the allegations are true.
Among the mind-blowing claims:
- Two IT employees — William Corte, 38, of Plantation, and Curtis Renie, 38, of Ft. Lauderdale — created a bogus web page by copying the legitimate page of TD Bank. “False account balances” were posted on the fraudulent page to make it appear as though Rothstein’s law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler (RRA), had between $300 million and $1.1 billion on deposit at the bank. “[N]o such funds were in the accounts. The false account balances were shown to investors to induce them to invest into the fraudulent investment scheme,” prosecutors said.
- RRA attorney Howard Kusnick, 58, of Tamarac, wrote a bogus letter that claimed a case had been settled in favor of clients. In reality, prosecutors said, the clients’ funds had been used to prop up the scheme and make Ponzi payments to investors. “[N]o such litigation had been instituted and no such settlement existed,” prosecutors said.
- Stephen Caputi, 53, of Lauderhill, sometimes posed as a “banker” in meetings with Rothstein clients, and also posed as a “plaintiff” in bogus cases if the need surfaced. Caputi, prosecutors said, posed as a TD Bank employee and handed out false information on account balances to dupes. In a separate meeting with separate dupes, he posed as the the beneficiary of a $10 million settlement agreement to raise “investors’ confidence” in a deal, prosecutors said. Caputi was Rothstein’s partner in a nightclub.
“The house of cards supporting Scott Rothstein’s elaborate Ponzi scheme continues to crumble,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida. “As today’s charges confirm, we will follow all leads and continue to bring to justice those who helped Rothstein execute this billion dollar fraud and any other crimes that may have been committed through RAA. The investigation continues.”