Friday, May 02, 2014

Ponzi Schemes: Fort Lauderdale Attorney Sentenced in Connection with Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Southern District of Florida

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Douglas L. Bates, 55, of Parkland, was sentenced by U.S. District Donald M. Middlebrooks to 60 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine.

Bates previously pled guilty to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

The acts set forth in the charging document were all in furtherance of a Ponzi scheme involving the sale of purported confidential settlement agreements in sexual harassment and/or whistle blower cases which were purportedly handled by attorneys at the former Ft. Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA).

According to the factual stipulation filed in support of the guilty plea, while Bates was a partner in the Law Offices of Koppel and Bates located at 817 South University Drive, Suite 100, Plantation, Florida, he assisted Scott W. Rothstein in defrauding certain clients of RRA by drafting false and fraudulent opinion letters claiming to represent an investment group which had a business plan to invest in the confidential settlements which formed the basis for the Ponzi scheme when, in fact, he did not, and claiming that he represented a plaintiff who had entered into one of the confidential settlement agreements when, in fact, he did not. The superseding information further alleges that Bates assisted Rothstein by arranging to have representatives of an investment group falsely informed that numerous legal cases were referred by Koppel & Bates to RRA when, in fact, they were not.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz, Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Evelyn B. Sheehan.