White-Collar Crime

Lawyer gets 3 years in $1.35M investment fraud; some of the money helped him run for judicial office


A onetime Georgia judge was sentenced Friday to more than three years in federal prison for defrauding investors of $1.35 million.

Authorities say former part-time DeKalb Recorder’s Court Judge Michael Rothenberg used the money to fund an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the DeKalb County Superior Court, as well as to pay personal expenses, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Stone Mountain-Lithonia Patch. An FBI press release provides further details.

Rothenberg, who worked part-time as a recorder’s court judge, also founded a small law firm in Atlanta, notes Heneghan’s Dunwoody Blog.

Authorities said Rothenberg persuaded the owners of WinterHawk Energy and Development Corporation to give him the $1.35 million, promising to put the money into a trust account and use it to purchase sophisticated bank instruments. He allegedly fabricated bank statements to support his claims.

He pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September of last year, the Journal-Constitution reported at the time. An FBI press release provides further details.

Another Journal-Constitution story discusses his July 2012 indictment and the Daily Report (sub. req.) and the Dunwoody Crier also have stories about his sentencing.

Following his 41-month prison term, Rothenberg will be on supervised release for three years and must pay restitution of $800,000.

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