The federal investigation into the fraud allegations against the Broward law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler is generating new business for South Florida and Miami criminal lawyers. Federal law enforcement authorities raided the once prestigious law office on Wednesday, and seized forty-four boxes of documents and numerous computers. The $400 million massive scheme to defraud may have destroyed a law firm, but is creating a lot of new clients for Miami fraud lawyers. It is possible that several indictments will he handed down which contain charges such as money laundering, racketeering, wire fraud and bank fraud.
The individual subject to the most scrutiny is Scott Rothstein, a high-profile Broward County lawyer and equity partner in the firm currently under investigation. According to the firm's most recent statement, Rothstein operated a side business at the firm which including selling civil case settlements to investors. The only problem is that the clients and settlements were most likely fictitious. The firm under investigation grew from seven lawyers in 2002 to 70 lawyers at present. Rothstein was not afraid to display his new found wealth by purchasing expensive homes, automobiles and jewelry.
Several members of the firm have already hired high-profile South Florida and Miami criminal attorneys to represent their interests in the federal investigation which will inevitably become criminal cases. Not only those under investigation are hiring lawyers, but the victim's of the fraud are also hiring lawyers in an effort to recoup their losses from the scheme to defraud. Notable victims of the fraud are; notable car dealer, Ted Morse; and investment group, The Banyon Investment Fund. Numerous other victims of the fraud have come forward and will undoubtedly files civil claims against the Broward firm and its partners.
A notable Miami criminal defense lawyer told reporters, "It's sort of like the Criminal Defense Lawyers Welfare Relief Act. Basically, anybody who has had a position above secretary ought to be lawyered up. And even secretaries ought to be cautious of speaking with authorities without counsel." Any experienced criminal lawyer with experience in handling federal fraud investigations will tell anyone involved to retain counsel and refuse to speak with investigators without counsel being present. Even lawyers who are subject to criminal investigations should hire experienced attorneys to represent their interests and never choose to go it alone and represent themselves.
Fla. Firm's Attorneys Rally Their Defenses as Partner Faces Fraud Allegations, Law.com, November 6, 2009.