A Florida jury took just two hours to deliver a guilty verdict in the trial of a former attorney in convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's now-defunct law firm. Christina Kitterman, who attracted national headlines for her decision to call Rothstein to the stand in her defense, was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud after being accused of assisting Rothstein with his scheme by posing as a Florida Bar official during a meeting with investors. Prosecutors have indicated they will likely seek a nine-year sentence, while Kitterman's attorneys are hoping for five years or less. Interestingly, after allowing Kitterman to remain free on $250,000 bond, U.S. District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley suggested that Kitterman may have committed perjury during her trial testimony.
Kitterman was indicted last summer, along with south Florida attorney Douglas Bates, on charges that she was a participant in Rothstein's scheme while employed as an attorney at his former firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler ("RRA"). There, according to authorities, Kitterman agreed to participate in a meeting with Rothstein investors posing as a Florida Bar official, telling investors that Rothstein's bank accounts had been frozen as the result of a pending bar association investigation. Kitterman was indicted on three counts of wire fraud.
Kitterman's attorneys successfully argued that Rothstein should be compelled to testify at her trial, and they may now question their decision after Rothstein testified for 1.5 days and generally was not observed to have bolstered Kitterman's defense. In his testimony, Rothstein claimed that he and Kitterman had a "friends with benefits" relationship and that Kitterman was aware of her actions in assisting him.
Judge Hurley allowed Kitterman to remain free on $250,000 bail until her sentencing, to which he cautioned Kitterman against failing to appear. Prosecutors indicated that Kitterman will likely ask for a nine-year prison sentence for Kitterman, while her defense attorneys insisted a sentence below five years was appropriate. However, Judge Hurley insinuated that Kitterman may have committed perjury during her trial testimony which, if true, could result in a sentencing enhancement or even perjury charges.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, sentencing is expected later this year.
For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.
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