Dozens of FBI and IRS agents spent the night sifting through files at the firm of south Florida attorney Scott Rothstein, the politically connected ally of Charlie Crist who has been accused by investors of running a massive fraud scheme, local media report.
WPLG 10 has video outside Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler’s office building in Fort Lauderdale, where FBI and IRS agents searched the 16th floor through the night. A source told WPLG that 40 agents were involved. Partner Stuart Rosenfeldt said: “We want them to search and look for eveything they need to find evidence of any crimes that may have occurred.”
There’s still no sign of Rothstein himself, who hasn’t made any public appearances or statements since he returned from Morocco earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that questions are being raised by aggrieved investors about the role of TD Bank, which is owned by a large Canadian bank group. Rothstein kept money from people investing in allegedly phony structured legal settlements at a TD Bank branch in Fort Lauderdale. Those accounts held $500 million on Oct. 23 but were empty by Oct. 30, according to Rosenfeldt.
It’s not clear where the money went. But an attorney for a group of investors wants to find out — and wants to know if TD Bank improperly allowed the money to be released. The Journal reports:
Some of the investor accounts at TD Bank included restrictions providing that account funds could only be distributed to certain designated investors, according to William Scherer, an attorney for more than 10 investors in Mr. Rothstein’s business venture. But the account funds were improperly disbursed, he says, without the investors’ authorization. Mr. Scherer isn’t certain what happened to the funds.
“TD Bank shares responsibility here,” says Mr. Scherer, whose investor clients include Douglas Von Allmen, a Florida businessman. “Investors thought their money was in lockbox accounts at the bank,” he says, noting that his investors claim losses in excess of $80 million. “The money in those lockbox accounts was unlocked and did not go back to the investors.”
A spokeswoman for TD Bank said the bank can’t comment on particular customer accounts. “TD Bank will work with the authorities to the fullest extent and as a normal course of business is conducting an internal investigation” into the Rothstein matter, the spokeswoman said.