Former Fort Lauderdale lawyer and Ponzi schemer extraordinaire Scott Rothstein is almost a year into rotting away in his 50-year prison sentence, and now four more of his old pals have a chance of joining him in the joint for a few years.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced today that charges were filed against Howard Kusnick , 58, of Tamarac, Stephen Caputi , 53, of Lauderhill, William Corte , 38, of Plantation, and Curtis Renie , 38, of Fort Lauderdale for their alleged roles in Rothstein's fraudulent investment scheme.
Caputi and Corte were due for their initial appearances at a federal court in Fort Lauderdale at 11 a.m. today, while Kusnick and Renie should be going in next week.
Corte and Renie -- both members of the information technology department of Scott Rothstein's old law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler -- as well as Kusnick, a former RRA lawyer, and Caputi, an "associate" of Rothstein's, all face one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which caries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The four are all expected to plead guilty to their charges as part of an arrangement with the FBI in which their cooperation is likely to lead to even more arrests in the Rothstein saga.
According to information provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office, IT boys Corte and Renie allegedly created a fake website meant to mirror that of TD Bank, tricking investors in Rothstein's scheme into thinking their accounts were growing by the minute.
The feds say Kusnick allegedly defrauded two clients of RRA by pretending to file litigation in their favor and instead funneling the funds from those clients into Rothstein's pockets.
Rothstein's pal Caputi was allegedly pretending to be both a banker and a plaintiff during meetings with potential investors into the Ponzi scheme. As a banker, he would ensure potential investors that accounts were loaded with funds in trust accounts, and as a plaintiff, he claimed he'd won settlements as high as $10 million to gain confidence from the investors, according to the feds.
"The FBI will continue to unravel the remaining web of fraudulent schemes created by Scott Rothstein," John V. Gillies, the special agent in charge for the FBI's Miami office, says in a statement. "We will shine a light on every aspect of this fraud. Like Rothstein, those who chose greed over integrity will also have a price to pay."
Check back with the Pulp as the Scott Rothstein saga continues to unfold.