In the first trial related to Scott Rothstein’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, a Miami federal jury took less than a day to return a $67 million verdict against TD Bank, including $32 million in compensatory damages and $35 million in punitive damages.
The jury determined that TD Bank helped Rothstein defraud a group of Texas businessmen known as Coquina Investments (“Coquina”). The complaint alleged that TD Bank executives, former Vice President Frank Spinosa in particular, lied to the businessmen about the safety of their money and aided Rothstein in his fraud on investors. During the trial, Coquina’s lawyers focused on a bank’s obligation to know its customers and to detect fraud in accordance with the Bank Secrecy Act.
Scott Rothstein, a disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. He told potential investors they were buying interest in phony pre-lawsuit settlements for whistleblower and sexual harassment cases. In order to make his scheme work, Rothstein needed banks who did not ask questions about why he was moving large amounts of money between attorney trust accounts. Coquina’s lawyers claimed that TD Bank should have asked questions, but didn’t.
TD Bank will be on the defensive again as another Rothstein related case is set for trial in March in Broward County Circuit Court. One thing the plaintiffs in that case will have is Rothstein’s December testimony that he bribed TD Bank employees. That testimony was not allowed in the Coquina case because of the timing.
Investors nationwide who have been the victim of investment fraud, may contact the Florida investment fraud attorneys at McCabe Rabin, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation by calling toll free at 877.915.4040 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.