Bloomberg News

Fourth Rothstein Associate Pleads Guilty in Investment Scam

June 22, 2011

(Updates with prosecutor’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- A fourth associate of convicted fraudster Scott Rothstein admitted to his role in a $1.2 billion investment scheme involving fake lawsuit settlements.

William Corte, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, federal court before U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas.

Prosecutors say Corte and Curtis Renie, 38, worked for Rothstein’s law firm as technology specialists and set up a fake TD Bank website showing Rothstein had $1.1 billion in a trust account. Renie pleaded guilty last week. Rothstein used the site to convince potential investors their investments would be safe, prosecutors said.

“The investors, relying on this information, ended up investing in excess of $35 million,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio told the judge.

Corte’s attorney, Alvin Entin, said that while his client didn’t know the website was being used in an investment scheme, prosecutors would be able to prove he was part of the conspiracy. Sentencing is set for Sept. 8.

Rothstein pleaded guilty last year to five counts of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, admitting he sold investors interests in bogus settlements in sexual-harassment and whistle-blower suits. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Two other men, an attorney at Rothstein’s firm, Howard Kusnick, 59, and a friend, Stephen Caputi, 53, pleaded guilty this month to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their roles in the scheme.

The cases are U.S. v. Renie, 11-60123; U.S. v. Kusnick, 11- 60125; and U.S. v. Caputi, 11-60124; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporter on this story: Susannah Nesmith in West Palm Beach, Florida, at susannahnesmith@yahoo.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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