How The Computer Guys Helped Rothstein Pull Off The Ponzi

27 May

William Corte, pictured at left with attorney Alvin Entin, was a just tech guy at a law firm.

With the punch of some computer keys, he became a small but crucial part of one of the largest frauds ever committed in South Florida.

Corte, 38, was a computer expert at the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, working for head IT guy Curtis Renie. In early 2009, Scott Rothstein came to Corte and Renie, also 38, and asked them to complete an unusual task: Make an exact copy of the official TD Bank site. For their work Rothstein offered each man a bonus of $5,000, according to court documents.

Both Corte and Renie, who are being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, said yes to the unusual — and obviously shady — job.

“He knew something was wrong,” Entin told me. “But he didn’t know the purpose of it. … They were told if they wouldn’t do it, he would get someone from outside [the RRA firm] to do it.”

But it wasn’t just creating the fake website that Rothstein wanted Renie and Corte to do — he also asked them to create fake individual trust accounts.

But there were, of course, glitches. The real TD site had a stock ticker, but it didn’t work on the fake site. The address bar in the web browser had a Rothstein-related file name, and the accounts? Well they didn’t work when the preordained password was typed in, the feds say.

So Rothstein had the pair fix the site. Corte adjusted the site so that any password punched in would give someone access to the accounts. Renie manually updated the stock ticker to make it appear that it was live. And Corte simply eliminated the problematic address bar.

Up until the Ponzi scheme imploded in October 2009, the pair would modify the trust accounts to show whatever figures Rothstein demanded. They even included incoming and outgoing wire transfers — all of them of course fabricated.

And towards the end, they modified the fake bank website to indicate that Rothstein held between $300 million and $1.1 billion in the account. That bit of fraud helped Rothstein raise another $35 million for the scheme, the feds allege.

When Rothstein fled the country, Renie and Corte tried to hide their tracks, according to court documents. Renie deleted the fake webpage from the RRA server and deleted all emails he had regarding the site. Both Renie and Corte also uninstalled the Dreamweaver computer program they used to help create the site.

But as they should have known, there were electronic footprints left behind — and enough evidence to force them to come to the federal table and cooperate.

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66 Responses to “How The Computer Guys Helped Rothstein Pull Off The Ponzi”

  1. FauxChiefFranklinAdderley May 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    1st…………Christy where are you?

  2. It's Rick May 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Rothstein the Bully! Adler Bully! Debra Villegas, Bully! What about Ovi Levy who threatened a use a cigar cutter to snip a valet’s finger off for not getting his car fast enough! (Don’t you want to effing slap the shit out of Levi?) Feds, get them all. They were drug buyers and users, on the job and while they were representing people who were paying obscene amounts of money for their services. They were colluding with judges. The were falsifying documents, making illegal campaigns contributions. They were lying, cheating and stealing. Threatening people, buying Law Enforcement Officials, robbing investors, buying powerbrokers, buying the Broward County 17th circuit court and all the crazy judges in the system, mostly and including Chief Judge Victor Tobin. They owned Police Chieft Frank Addlerley, and BSO Al Lamberti. The were performing illicit sex acts in the office and at BOVA. All were immoral and the day is long and everyone knew what was going on. Everyone. Forgeries, theft, graft…Feds, if you can find one crime these guys, in particular the RRA partners DIDN’T COMMIT, then let them go. But you won’t. These people were scum and in a more civilized society they would be tarred and feathered then left in prison for decades, just like their leader, Scott. Rothstein, who sat on the Ethics Committee of the JQC, please. Look at the Florida Bar, aren’t they coming across as dumb little weasel-twits? RRA make a laughing joke out of the whole town. People are dead because of them. Families were destroyed. Take the whole damn bunch of greedy little thieves at get them out of our site. Set an example for future generations of would-be crooks. Now is the time. Let’s get to work!

    • Virgil Starkwell May 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

      Do you have any pictures? ; )

      • anonymous May 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

        I don’t actually have the pictures, but I’ve seen the pictures, and you will too, one day. They exist and they are incredible. I don’t think the RRA enemies are going to spare these guys by not leaking them at some point.

    • All That Glitters..... May 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      Excellent Post!

    • Anonomyte May 28, 2011 at 8:07 am #

      Quite a succint explanation of the events Rick.

    • Patti Lynn May 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

      It’s Rick,

      Your post is excellent and it is obvious, (at least to me), that you were victimized by RRA. What is scary is the way the whole deal went down. The greed involved led to innovative ways to create a MANSION of cards. Let us hope that everyone who plotted to lie and cheat, in order to steal, gets their just rewards.

      Bob Norman…Broward County owes you a BIG debt of gratitude for unearthing this mess. Please don’t hold your breath, because we need you. Acknowledging what you have done will only reveal them for what they are: regulators, elected officials, & business owners WITHOUT a damned clue.

  3. anon1 May 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    RRA = Rectum, Rectum and Asshole

  4. anonymous May 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Throw the book at them. The Bible. People need to pray for the innocent children of these despicable people.

  5. The Street May 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Stracher and Stay going down. Szfranski going down.

  6. anonymous May 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Revenge is Mine, sayeth the Lord. However, while the Lord is busy in the middle east, his holiness designates Jeffrey Sloman to carry out his duties.

    Amen.

  7. anonymous May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Know why these IT guys should be kicking themselves right now? Had they gone to the Feds as whistleblowers on what Rothstein was doing, they would have been entitled to 25% of all recoverable funds from this Ponzi. They would have been mega-rich; instead they’re going to jail and no doubt spend a hundred times their Rothstein $5,000 bonus on lawyer fees. These guys just won the Dumbest Crooks of Broward County title for 2009, 2010 and 2011. There’s probably more to the story, maybe Levin threated to cut off their penises if they didn’t do as told.

    • Obermann May 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      True about the whistleblower reward. Think of how many Rothstein co-conspirators could have been rich right now. Amazing.

  8. Virgil Starkwell May 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    And I worry about deleting soft porn from my computer.

    • anon1 May 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      That’s why you wouldn’t have fit in at RRA, Virgil. And there are probably 50+ Rothstein associates who envy you for that right now.

  9. Death Frog 3 May 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    The FBI is sure doing Bob a favor. His first week on the job and they throw these softballs at him. I bet Bob is the go to guy in the news room today.

    • btan May 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

      Ha, I thought of that too. Great timing!

      RIP herb.

      Perhaps MM3 will return? Perhaps when the Rabbi goes down?

      • All That Glitters..... May 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

        It would be good to hear from MM3 again. His comments were wise and hysterical all in one.

      • Anonomyte May 28, 2011 at 8:09 am #

        What is going on with the Rabbi lately? Does he get to keep the millions?

      • Anonomyte May 28, 2011 at 8:10 am #

        I miss MM3 too. Why did MM3 retire?

  10. Truthseeker May 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    When Lamberti, Wheeler, and Bags Benji get arrested I’ll bet the Fort Lauderdale cops will start to really sweat.

  11. All That Glitters..... May 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    What about the three bank executives: Frank Spinosa, senior vice president, Jennifer Kerstetter, assistant manager, and Roseanne Caretsky, assistant vice president and branch manager? All three met with investors, verified account statements and provided “lock letters” securing funds. These people actually worked for the bank adding further credibility to the dupped investors that the Putz’s scheme was legit. They should go to jail too.
    He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
    Benjamin Franklin

    Have a Great Memorial Day weekend all!

  12. unowho!!! May 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Anybody hear anything on Tony(flys on my meat)trial?…When it will start now that he is found mentally competent?

    • All That Glitters..... May 28, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      I was called for Jury Duty on June 20th. Wouldn’t that be strange if it were for his trial?

      • Anonomyte May 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        Does that mean you would have to recuse yourself?

      • Patti Lynn May 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

        ATG…that won’t happen. First question: “Have you heard about this case?” First answer: “Heard about it??? I did all that I could to help Bob Norman bring the bastards down.”

      • All That Glitters..... May 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

        Absolutely right Patti Lynn. That’s exactly what I was thinking and what I’ll say.

  13. Christy May 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Where am I?

  14. Christy May 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Mini text?

  15. Christy May 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    FYI:

    Blog comes thru entirely different on ipad. Dark Text and small text. Nice front page though.

    Arrests today but we need the Big fish….. The RA out of the RRA still to come and many others…Patience is a virtue.

  16. Bubba The Wise May 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    At this point, it doesn’t seem as if the real big lawyer players in this soap opera will suffer any damage. Lots of small fry but no connected personnel have made the perp walk.

    • Death Frog 3 May 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

      yet… the co-coperators always go first. They get debriefed and give info. Then they go after the non co-operators.

      My number is 25-30 people charged in this case.

      Remember the rampant election fraud.

      • All That Glitters..... May 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

        Very interesting DF3. Over how many years will this take place?

  17. Truthseeker May 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Blog hijack…more on the LCF bid rigging:

    There was NO legitimate BSO bidding process between the various dealerships in Jax and Broward. The local option percentage is not legitimate either and AL never meant to keep business in the county. It was merely a tool to slightly lower the profit differential in case it was exposed-now it is. It is no coincidence that big contributor and supporter Maroone got the bid and it is particularly telling that his Gen. Mgr. runs the gay support end of Lamberti’s campaign. The vehicle bids were rigged and this will be proven by documentation in the media shortly. The state and county administrative rules were deliberately circumvented and a lot of people far more important than AL are seriously angry. It involves several people who will be named. A related issue that will also be exposed is the switch from buying Whelen emergency equipment (lights & sirens) to Federal Signal equipment. You will be reading why that happened and who profited and who got slammed. Several stories will come together and you will understand the depths of corruption that others have seen for some time. The major law enforcement agencies have been provided the information and they will not ignore it. The County Commission and other officials are also advised. This will not be a good season for the Lamberti Crime Family. Support another candidate fast to stop this disease. And NO, I do not support any candidate at this time.

    Michael Imperioli

  18. Death Frog 3 May 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    ATG it is not unusual for these investigations to last years….

    @Truthseeker

    Did I mention I hate Campaign Season…. Please dont be an @sshole by posting politically motivated off topic comments posted on other blogs.

    • Bubba The Wise May 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      Thank you DF3. Ditto for me.

    • anonymous May 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      ATG, it doesn’t matter how many years it takes, but all the while these crooks will be experiencing cerebral torture. The reason people will break under investigation is because they think that confessing will get it over and life will return to normal. What terrifies people is the thought that life will never return to normal and the longer they feel that way, the more devastating it is. So go ahead and take your time, Feds, we can wait, we’ve got all day. But just get these crooks at the end of the day. Help people believe in justice again.

    • Truthseeker May 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

      OK…but that @sshole has to go. I have 26 years with BSO and he, and his moron leeches have to go. They are destroying us slowly with all the illegal crap they pull.

      • Death Frog 3 May 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

        He has not been the best Sheriff. It wasnt that bad last year when I left though. It wasn’t as bad as Jenne’s last year. I would put it on par with Navarro’s last year.

        There are malcontents under every Sheriff. I did my job to the best of my availability no matter who the sheriff was and stayed out of politics.

      • Death Frog 3 May 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

        *ability not availability

  19. anonymous May 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    It takes two people for a lie to be effective: one to tell the lie, and one to believe it. Everyone knew RRA was a lie, but most of them just chose to believe it.

    Every person involved in this ponzi who gets indicted is going to be dealt a much harsher penalty than they even imagine, because, in essence, they called the whole town stupid by their actions. And the folks don’t like that. Look at what Rothstein got – 50 Years. Look at Debra Villegas – 10 years. I predict Rosenfeldt will get 28 years, Adler 5-8 years, Lippman, 10 years. Szfranski is going to get 30 years. Irene Stay, 5-8 years. Stracher, Boden and that tier will get 3-5 years. Nobody’s going to get off light, just watch. They shouldn’t have been so arrogant. Duh! Losing!

    • All That Glitters..... May 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

      Everytime Rothstein is brought up, I can’t help but think of Benjamin. Here’s a guy who works for the Sheriff’s Dept. carries bags of money on to the plane for the Ponzi Putz as he’s escaping to Morroco and he still has his job? In my opinion he’s part of this nefarious group as well!

      • Judge Roy Bean May 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

        Did he profit? Did he know what he was carring? He’s really not all that smart. If he knew or gained—Give him the max!

      • All That Glitters..... May 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

        Hi Judge Roy…I believe he knew and I believe he profited. Why else was he there… just to be Rothstein’s valet?

      • Death Frog 3 May 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

        @ ATG

        2 words; due process

        He cannot be fired until there is a finding of a policy violation/criminal activity as he is a union member protected by collective bargaining.

        There will be no internal investigation until the feds are done with the criminal investigation. Until that occurs what do you do with the guy? You bury him so that he is not involved in any criminal cases/police work so that his dirtiness doesn’t taint new cases. Hopefully we’ll see this play out soon enough.

    • irvingfeiner June 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      Anonymous, have you been talking with torts102′s doorman again?

  20. Dragnet May 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    You always read about mass arrests of the bad guys, roundups, so to speak. Why can’t we do this with the Rothstein crooks? Why do we have to go one by one with these smucks. Round ‘em up and toss them in the pokey, and keep them in Ft. Lauderdale jail for two years before they get their day in court. No bail. That would be justice.

  21. Christy May 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    A Bob Norman Blast from the past

    “So I got Caputi on the phone.

    “I don’t want you to take this in any kind of

    rude way, because it’s not meant that way,” Caputi said after taking my call at his nightclub. “But I just don’t have any comment at this time. Bye-bye, Bob.”

    He hung up as I tried to ask him questions. So much for that. I also asked Bob Scandiffio, Rothstein’s former bodyguard, if he saw Caputi in Morocco. Rothstein also flew Scandiffio out to Casablanca with a bizarre plan to try to shave time off of his eventual prison sentence. Other than Scandiffio and Caputi, the only other people who went with Rothstein to Morocco were Bill “Uncle Bill” Boockvor and his guide, Ahnich Khalid.”

    http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2010/03/stephen_caputi_and_scott_rothstein.php

  22. Yay Bob's Back! May 29, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Yay! Bob Norman is back. We missed you.

  23. Truthseeker May 29, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    @DF3

    Benji was Lamberti’s XO. He was an exempt employee in that position not represented by any bargaining unit. He could have and should have been fired on the spot. BTW – Navarro wasn’t this bad.

    • Death Frog 3 May 29, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Truth Seeker for 26 years at BSO you are either misinformed or deliberately lying. He was Lamberti’s XO but he is still a Lt. A protected position. All Lt’s, Sgt’s, and Deputies in DLE have Collective Bargained protection. Deputies and Sgts are bargained for as a unit and Lts another. This is why the Commander Position was formed. BSO didnt want to take Captains and higher that are unrepresented and “Contract” positions and demote people they may want to get rid of to Lt and give them PBA protection.

      Navarro was great until his last year.

      • Truthseeker May 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

        DF3
        Please read Article 1 of the PBA contract before you hurl insults. IA, XO, and others are exempt. Thank you. Also, Jenne was better than this jerk. Yes, he had major problem (A,B,C) but he was still much better as a Sheriff. The Commander position was formed because of a (one of many) Ricky Frey screw up.

  24. Judge Roy Bean May 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    The Commander position was in effect before Rick Frey was even a deputy.

    • Truthseeker May 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      OK..I’ll give you that, but not used as extensively.

      • Death Frog 3 May 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

        @ Truthseeker,

        quit lying.

        The contract is available on the Broward PBA Website.

        Article 1 does not exclude IA or XO’s

        infact there are many sections that deal specifically with XO’s article 10.3 was the first one I saw where XO’s get more time off than regular Lt’s.

        So plrase if you are going to lie at least make it harder to look up.

  25. Bubba The Wise May 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Is Benjamin currently in a position where he has no real clout or does he still have the ability to ruin other LE lives?

    • Death Frog 3 May 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      No he has been banished to the JAC with no responsibitily and no ability to affect new cases. He’s basically collecting a check until the shoe drops one way or the other.

      • Truthseeker May 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

        Really? It doesn’t exclude them? Did you even read it? I thought you were smarter than that. A simple apology will suffice.

  26. Truthseeker May 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Article 1 – EXCLUDED EMPLOYEES

  27. deathfrog3. May 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    @ truthseeker,

    Now you are just flat out a liar. Nowhere in the excluded section does it mention xo’s. It mentions parttimers, confidential employees, probationary employees etc. the contract specifically bargains for xo’s in 10.3 and other places

    • Truthseeker May 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      Quit the insults… What do you think a Sheriff’s XO is…a confidential employee…same as IA. Come on DF.

    • Truthseeker May 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      The contract bargains for district XO’s. They are NOT confidential employees. Go ask someone. I’m done.

      • Death Frog 3 May 31, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        No Lt’s are considered “confidential” employees. I have spoken with a member of the PBA executive board, read the contract and spoke with someone who negotiated the contract. Dave Benjamin is 100% covered under collective bargaining. You are above your paygrade here.

  28. irvingfeiner May 31, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    This guy is an idiot. All he had to do was say, I cant do that boss, it stinks too bad, but for the $5k you are offering (used cash, small bills) I will hook you up with the guy that will do the fake bank website.

    Then, hook up Scott with the freelance website developers in Bangladesh. For $300 bucks those guys will do up mimic websites for any bank you want.

    Ghost into the network from some anonymous device, and you are home free.

    You and your friends didnt hear that from me, DF3.

  29. Truthseeker May 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Hey genius I know I said I was done, but, I think you have a lot on the ball. You being a detective and all should have known to ask the question like this… “Is the Sheriff’s XO an exempt employee”. See, that was simple. Of course they will tell you (if you really looked into it) that no LT’s are exempt because DEPUTY Don P now holds the crown and not Bags Benji. And yes, Don P. is now an exempt employee. So the statement that no LT’s are exempt would be a true statement. I think you are above your retirement paygrade. But, good luck anyway.

    • Death Frog 3 June 1, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      Well, the question I asked is specifically, Is Dave Benjamin covered by collective bargaining? Even as Lamberti’s XO? the answer was yes from both people I asked. A lawyer and a PBA Executive Board member

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