Investment Adviser Charged in $1.2B Rothstein Ponzi Scheme

A South Florida investment adviser is facing fraud charges for his alleged role in former attorney Scott Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors say 36-year-old Michael Szafranski of Surfside lured investors to Rothstein through a variety of deceptions, including assurances he reviewed confidential legal settlements in which they were investing. The settlements did not actually exist.

Safranski was released on $250,000 bail after a brief court appearance Thursday. He is scheduled to enter a formal plea later this month. His attorney, Howard Srebn, said in an email Thursday that Szafranski will plead not guilty and demand a jury trial. Srebn says Rothstein deceived Szafranski.

More than two dozen other people have been convicted in the Rothstein scam, operated out of his former Fort Lauderdale law office. Rothstein himself is serving a 50-year prison sentence after pleading guilty.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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