Investment Adviser Indicted in Connection with Rothstein Case
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, announce that an indictment was unsealed today charging Michael Szafranski, 36, of Surfside, Florida, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The indictment was unsealed in open court in Ft. Lauderdale by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle. The defendant was ordered released on a $250,000 personal surety bond. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count.
The indictment, which was returned by a grand jury in Ft. Lauderdale on January 22, 2015, charges that the defendant was a registered investment advisor who, from in or about 2008 through in or about November 2009, conspired to defraud various investors. In 2009, it was discovered that the former law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt & Adler, P.A. (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 indictment charges that Szafranski and Rothstein conspired to induce various persons and entities into investing money in the confidential settlements through material misstatements and material omissions by defendant Szafranski. Those material misstatements and omissions were designed to deceive investors and potential investors as to the legitimacy and authenticity of the parties ostensibly involved in the confidential settlements. The indictment further charges that Szafranski secretly received millions of dollars in compensation from Rothstein and RRA while simultaneously employed by certain investors as a purportedly independent verifier of the legitimacy of the settlement transactions.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS-CI and the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz, and Jeffrey N. Kaplan.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.