Howard Kusnick -- a former lawyer at Scott Rothstein's now-defunct law firm and associate to his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme -- was sentenced today to two years in federal prison.
Kusnick is now the second person in the current round of Rothstein-related indictments to receive his prison sentence, after Stephen Caputi was sentenced last week to five years in the hoosegow. Rothstein's computer nerds, Curtis Renie and William Corte, are still waiting to be sentenced.
Kusnick, 59, pleaded guilty in June to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after he was indicted on the basis of defrauding two Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm clients by pretending to file litigation in their favor and instead funneling the funds from those clients into Rothstein's pockets.
Kusnick was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court in July and is scheduled to start serving his prison sentence on November 4, according to the Justice Department.
After his prison sentence, Kusnick is slated to be on supervised release for an additional two years and was ordered to pay $310,000 in restitution to car salesman Ed Morse, whom Kusnick had screwed out of some money along the way.
Morse had claimed during a civil suit that he was conned out of a grand total of $25 million in Rothstein's scheme.
Rothstein made Kusnick's involvement in the scheme pretty clear to investigators after they found out about emails he sent around the law firm while his Ponzi scheme was imploding, making it clear to his employees they were to lie about Kusnick's ties to the firm:
From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:45 AM
Subject: IMPORTANT--HOWARD KUSNICK
IF ANYONE CALLS FOR HOWARD KUSNICK, OR ASKS ABOUT HIM....AND I MEAN ANYONE.....HE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF OUR FIRM. YOU ARE SIMPLY TO TELL THE CALLER OR THE PERSON INQUIRING THAT HE IS NOT EMPLOYED BY RRA AND CAN BE REACHED AT 954-648-4290.
HOWARD IS AWARE OF THIS AND UNDERSTANDS. WHILE HE MAY BE IN OUR OFFICE FROM TIME TO TIME IN THE FUTURE, HE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF RRA.
THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS MOST IMPORTANT MATTER.
ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE SEE ME DIRECTLY. PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER
HOWARD OR HIS SECRETARY WITH THIS.
Not five minutes later, Rothstein sent out another email with the caps lock button on cruise control:
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IF ANYONE INQUIRES AS TO WHETHER HE HAS EVER WORKED FOR US OR WHEN HE WORKED FOR US OR TIME PERIODS ETC, YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO PLEASE SIMPLY SAY THAT HE IS NOT EMPLOYED BY OUR FIRM AND GIVE THEM HIS NUMBER.... 954-648-4290
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.