Scott Rothstein Computer Nerds Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison
Curtis Renie and William Corte, the information technology workers for Ponzi scheme mastermind Scott Rothstein's law firm, were each sentenced to 37 months in prison yesterday.
Renie and Corte, both 38 years old, pleaded guilty in June to a single count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are the final two co-conspirators to be sentenced to prison in the current round of Rothstein-related indictments.
Howard Kusnick, a former lawyer at Scott Rothstein's now-defunct law firm, was sentenced at the beginning of the month to two years in prison, and Stephen Caputi, who posed as a TD Bank official during meetings with investors, was sentenced in late August to five years in prison -- the maximum sentence for the wire fraud conspiracy charge.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Renie and Corte -- the so-called "computer experts" -- were an integral part of Rothstein's scheme.
Rothstein offered $5,000 each to Renie and Corte for copying the website of TD Bank to a computer at his law firm in an attempt to be able to confirm that funds from investors were being held in trust accounts.
Once this was done, investors could view the website -- which looked nearly identical to TD Bank's -- from inside the law firm, allowing investors to view the information in their fake accounts.
For much of 2009, Rothstein would give Renie and Corte a copy of bank account information with balances written next to the printed balances and ask them to update the fake website with the new balances.
At least three investors came in and looked at the fake website, which would falsely show that the law firm had $300 million to $1.1 billion deposited at TD Bank.
Relying on this fake website, these investors put $35 million of their own money into Rothstein's scheme.
After being discovered, Renie deleted the fake TD Bank website and also deleted all of his emails he could find relating to the fake site.
Corte and Renie are also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after getting out of prison and join the rest of the Rothstein Ponzi cons in paying off the $62,388,521.35 in restitution.
Now, the next move in the Rothstein case is a new round of indictments, which is likely to be announced in December.
A bankruptcy deposition involving Rothstein scheduled to happen over the summer was delayed by 180 days -- until December 12 -- over fears from prosecutors that the deposition could tip off those about to be indicted, and "corroborating evidence could be concealed, altered or destroyed."
"Rothstein's deposition would provide a detailed explanation of the criminal activities of co-conspirators," federal prosecutors said in June court filings. "Such information would alert targets of the investigation as to the specifics concerning their potential criminal liability and would potentially reveal to them the identities of other witnesses against them."
Among the crimes they're looking into charging Rothstein's cohorts
with are mail fraud, wire fraud, campaign finance fraud, tax fraud,
extortion, payments of unlawful gratuities, bank fraud, and money
"It is anticipated that an additional multi-defendant indictment will be forthcoming," the prosecutors wrote in a previous court filing. "It is difficult to predict with exactitude when the proposed indictment will be returned, but such indictment is anticipated within the next six months."
Prosecutors say they're analyzing 850,000 emails from the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, and Rothstein -- "the main repository of information," the U.S. Attorney's Office says -- has been talking to the feds since November 2009.
That deposition will also not be videotaped, as was previously planned, after a judge ruled that government lawyers had "shown good cause and specifically identified a serious harm" in arguing against the videotaping of Rothstein. The filing explaining why the government doesn't want Rothstein videotaped is sealed, but the judge's ruling says it's due to reasons that are "unusual in nature."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.