$1.4B PONZI SCHEMER SCOTT ROTHSTEIN EX-LAWYER CHRISTINA KITTERMAN loses appeal, must serve 5 years in USA prison for fraud
ABOVE + BELOW – Christina Kitterman
BELOW – SCOTT ROTHSTEIN (2010 sentenced to 50 years in USA prison)
Immprisoned ex-lawyer Christina Kitterman — the only defendant in the Scott Rothstein scandal to go to trial — has lost her criminal appeal.
Kitterman, 40, is already serving her five-year punishment at the women’s federal prison in Coleman, in Central Florida. She is scheduled for release in September 2018.
Kitterman, who lived in Deerfield Beach and practiced in Boca Raton before she was imprisoned and disbarred, was convicted of three counts of wire fraud in February 2014 after a federal jury trial in West Palm Beach.
In an opinion issued Wednesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Kitterman’s conviction and the five-year prison term were appropriate.
The appeals court said the Kitterman case was “anything but” normal, partly because she was an attorney who impersonated a Florida Bar official and should have known she was doing something wrong.
Kitterman impersonated a Florida Bar official during an April 2009 conference call with some of Rothstein’s investors, a crime prosecutors said helped Rothstein to keep his massive investment fraud alive at a point when it was in danger of crumbling.
Though prosecutors said Kitterman did not know Rothstein was running a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme, they said the trained lawyer knew she was committing crimes when she pretended she was Adria Quintela, who at the time was the head of the Florida Bar’s Fort Lauderdale office.
Prosecutors said Kitterman’s performance helped Rothstein persuade some of his investors to continue giving him money after he failed to make some payments to them and they grew suspicious. The call enabled Rothstein’s fraud to thrive for an additional six months until it was exposed in October 2009, the prosecution said.
In a much-criticized move, Kitterman’s defense summoned Rothstein, who is serving 50 years in federal prison for masterminding the fraud, to testify. Though Rothstein was a defense witness, he delivered devastating evidence against her.
Kitterman, who has been locked up since May 2014, appealed her conviction.
But the appeals court ruled there was sufficient evidence that Kitterman intended to commit wire fraud.
The three-judge panel found the sentence Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley imposed was “substantively reasonable.”
The judges ruled there were no serious problems with evidence and testimony in Kitterman’s trial about allegations she associated with members of the mafia; that she overcame a drug abuse problem; and that she made illegal contributions to political campaigns. Kitterman, who worked at Rothstein’s Fort Lauderdale law firm, testified she has been sober since 2007.
The appellate court ruling questioned the trial judge’s finding that Kitterman was responsible for a $120,000 loss but said it was irrelevant because the judge stated clearly he would have imposed the same punishment, regardless of the dollar loss. Prosecutors argued the loss was significantly higher.
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