White-Collar Crime

2 lawyers indicted in $1.2B Rothstein swindle; one is accused of impersonating Florida bar official

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Two lawyers in South Florida have been federally indicted, accused of playing a role in Scott Rothstein’s $1.2 billion swindle.

Rothstein himself, now disbarred and serving a 50-year federal prison term, as well as eight other defendants, cut deals with the government before they were charged. However, Douglas L. Bates, who practices in Plantation, and Christina Kitterman, a former attorney at Rothstein’s shuttered law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, on Friday became the first defendants to be indicted in the case, sparking speculation about whether additional lawyers will soon be indicted, too, according to the Miami Herald (sub. req.) and the Sun-Sentinel (reg. req.).

Bates, 54, is charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud; Kitterman, 38, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Attorneys representing them said both were victims, rather than cohorts, of Rothstein.

Kitterman is accused of participating in a phone conversations with institutional investors Rothstein had defrauded in a scheme operated out of his 70-attorney Fort Lauderdale law firm. While pretending to be chief of the Fort Lauderdale office of the Florida Bar, she read from a Rothstein script and falsely said his TD Bank trust accounts had been frozen over 26 client complaints, the indictment says.

The indictment says that Bates, while working as a partner of the Law Offices of Koppel and Bates, supported Rothstein’s claims that he had the ability to sell, at a discount, pending funds from sexual harassment and whistleblower suit settlements. The feds say Bates wrote letters that falsely claimed to have settled fictitious litigation in RRA’s favor and falsely claimed Bates was representing investors who had a business plan to purchase confidential settlements from Rothstein.

A press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida provides further details.

Bob Norman’s Blog and the Palm Beach Post also have stories.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Imprisoned Ex-Attorney Scott Rothstein: Other Lawyers Had Some Knowledge of State’s Biggest Swindle”

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Lawyer Steven Lippman Gets 3 Years, Says Ex-Partner Scott Rothstein ‘Played Me Like a Fool’”

ABAJournal.com: “Federal Judge Sanctions Law Firm and Client re Withheld Docs, Finds TD Bank Knew of Rothstein Fraud”

ABAJournal.com: “Investors in law firm chief’s $1.2B swindle to get full repayment under OK’d bankruptcy plan”

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