Former CFO of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, and Adler P.A. Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Launder Money and to Defraud a Financial Institution
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 21, 2014|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), announce that Irene Shannon, formerly known as Irene Stay, 50, of Miami, pled guilty to conspiring to commit crimes through the operation of the former Fort Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, and Adler P.A. (RRA). The defendant was the chief financial officer of RRA. In 2009, it was discovered that RRA was being utilized by its chairman and chief executive officer, Scott W. Rothstein, to commit a massive Ponzi scheme stemming from the sale of fictitious confidential settlements.
The defendant pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum to conspiracy to commit money laundering and to defraud a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. At her sentencing, which is scheduled for August 8, 2014, the defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison.
According to the factual statement executed by Shannon in support of her guilty plea, Shannon oversaw the accounting functions of RRA, including the deposits and withdrawals made by RRA and Rothstein at TD Bank and other financial institutions. In furtherance of the Ponzi scheme, Shannon transferred hundreds of millions of dollars obtained from investors to pay prior investors in the scheme and to supplement and support the operation and activities of RRA, among other purposes. The factual statement further explains that Shannon was well aware that hundreds of millions of dollars were not being held in trust accounts for investors, contrary to what those investors had been told, and that the funds were instead being disbursed to further Rothstein’s fraudulent scheme. Irene Shannon also admitted that she utilized her position to float checks between and among certain bank accounts maintained by RRA in a form of bank fraud commonly known as check kiting.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz, and Jeffrey N. Kaplan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.