Broward News

Scott Rothstein's Recently Sentenced Pals May Testify in Lawsuit Against TD Bank

An investment company alleging TD Bank committed multiple crimes throughout Scott Rothstein's billion-dollar Ponzi scheme is requesting that three of the four recently sentenced Rothstein cohorts testify at a civil trial.

Coquina investments, which claims it lost $37.7 million in Rothstein's scheme, is requesting that William Corte, Curtis Renie, and Stephen Caputi appear to testify at the trial or at least be made available for deposition.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2010, alleges two Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations and fraudulent misrepresentation against both Rothstein and TD Bank and additionally claims that TD Bank was aiding and abetting fraud.

In the lawsuit -- the second against TD Bank related to Rothstein's scheme -- claims that TD Bank officials helped contribute to the "aura of legitimacy" investors felt while dumping money into Rothstein's scam, claiming several higher-ups in the bank provided personal assurances to Rothstein's clients about their funds.

"Coquina reasonably relied on misrepresentations and material omissions made by Rothstein, TD Bank, and others in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme," the lawsuit says.

Now that three of Rothstein's amigos have received their prison sentences, Coquina apparently thinks it has something to share with the court about TD Bank, although it didn't reveal any new information in the request -- filed today -- for the three of them to testify.

The court had previously asked Coquina to file a motion requesting the men to appear after they were all finally sentenced -- which happened last week -- and the motion has not yet had an immediate response.

Renie and Corte, both 38-year-old former information technology workers for Rothstein's now-defunct law firm, pleaded guilty in June to a single count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and were both sentenced last week to 37 months in prison.

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.

Caputi, 53, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and received the maximum prison sentence of five years.

According to Caputi's indictment, he had posed as a TD Bank official during meetings with unknowing Ponzi scheme investors and would actually hold these meetings in a conference room at a TD Bank location in Weston that Rothstein had set up with bank officials.

Caputi would then present false bank statements to show to investors, telling them he's a customer service representative who worked for the bank, gaining confidence from the investors that their accounts were full of cash.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is still preparing its impending indictment against more alleged Rothstein co-conspirators, which include charges related to mail fraud, wire fraud, campaign finance fraud, tax fraud, extortion, payments of unlawful gratuities, bank fraud, and money laundering, according to a previous court filing.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley