Douglas Bates, the disbarred lawyer who was sentenced to five years in federal prison for assisting Scott Rothstein in his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, is getting 20 months shaved off that sentence for helping prosecutors. Bates, 56, had pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks signed an order reducing Bates' sentence to three years and four months. And, with good behavior, there's a good chance Bates will be released after he has served two years and 10 months.
Just last week, prosecutors filed paperwork to have Bates' time cut over his assisting them with info that helped lead to the convictions of former BSO Lt. David Benjamin and former Detective Jeff Poole for their role in Rothstein's scam.
Benjamin, who was accused of accepting more than $20,000 from Rothstein, was charged last year with accepting that financial help in exchange for using his authority to protect and aid Rothstein. Poole was also charged with accepting gifts from Rothstein to use his influence and power as a cop to help him.
In November of 2009, New Times reported that Benjamin escorted Rothstein to his chartered jet at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport when the convicted Ponzi schemer fled the U.S. for Morocco.
Rothstein, New Times wrote, had called Benjamin, who was off-duty and armed at the time, hours before the plane was scheduled to take off and asked him to do it.
Benjamin was moved out of BSO Central Command in response to this.
Benjamin also used threats against the boyfriend of an escort who apparently had sex with Stuart Rosenfeldt, one of Rothstein's partners. The boyfriend was threatening to expose Rosenfeldt until Benjamin stepped in.
Benjamin also had deputy Poole arrest the Bates's ex-wife on trumped-up drug charges.
For being Rothstein's muscle and friend, Benjamin was paid more than $150,000 in cash and got more than $300,000 in gifts, such as jewelry, meals, tickets to sporting events, and rides to those sporting events on private jets.