Ponzi scheme accomplice gets reduced sentence
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - One of the cogs in the wheel of a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme got two-and-a-half years in prison instead of the maximum five because he helped prosecutors in the case against a disbarred lawyer who operated the scam.
Michael Szafranski pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and had to repay investors $6.5 million. Prosecutors say Szafranski lured investors to Scott Rothstein through deceptions, including assurances he reviewed confidential legal settlements that did not exist. Rothstein's scheme was based on investments in the fake settlements.
Rothstein operated the scam out of his Fort Lauderdale law office until it was taken down in 2009. He's serving a 50-year prison sentence.
More than two-dozen other people have been convicted in connection with the Ponzi scheme.