Michael Szafranski, 36, of Surfside, is charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and 11 counts of wire fraud. He was released on $250,000 bond after a brief appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale and later pleaded guilty to the wire fraud conspiracy charge.
The Sun-Sentinel reports:
The financial adviser who Scott Rothstein testified knew about his elaborate fraud has been indicted on related criminal charges.
Michael Szafranski, 36, of Surfside, is charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and 11 counts of wire fraud. He was released on $250,000 bond after a brief appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.
Szafranski was initially hired by a hedge fund to independently verify Rothstein's so-called investment deals. Szafranski later brought in big-money investors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the scheme. Rothstein has testified in depositions that, at some point, Szafranski had to have known he was running a fraud.
Szafranski will plead not guilty to the charges and plans to go to trial, his lawyer Howard Srebnick said.
"Rothstein deceived Szafranski and many others. Rothstein's deceit continues, as he tries to lie his way out of a 50-year prison sentence by falsely accusing Szafranski," Srebnick said.…
Each of the 12 charges Szafranski faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison plus fines.
Update 1:39 am CDT 10-26-2015 – He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Szafranski is Orthodox.
Update 2:42 pm CDT 10-26-2015 – Szafranski was sentenced today to three years in prison.
Update 3:56 pm CDT 10-26-2015 – The Sun-Sentinel has the sentence at 2.5 years:
…Szafranski, 37, of Surfside, was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison after the judge agreed to follow a recommendation from the prosecution and defense. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy in July.
He sobbed as he hugged his wife goodbye and was taken into custody in the Fort Lauderdale courtroom.…
Szafranski "made full restitution" to victims five years ago when he paid more than $6.5 million to the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm bankruptcy trustee, his attorney wrote in court records. That amount represented more than 90 percent of his family's assets, the defense said.…
Szafranski's lawyers Howard and Scott Srebnick said prosecutors may later recommend a further sentence reduction because of his extensive cooperation in the investigation…
Szafranski recruited a number of people to invest in Rothstein's fraud, including several members of the Young Israel Congregation of Bal Harbour, where he served as "Gabbai." In that respected role, he organized prayer services and visited seniors and ill people to read aloud and chant from sacred texts.
Szafranski acknowledged he persuaded one investor, and several members of her family, to invest about $555,000 in the final few weeks of the fraud.…