Jury slams TD Bank for $67 million in Rothstein case

Published On: Jan 18 2012 01:56:27 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 18 2012 07:44:23 PM EST

A federal jury in Miami today came back with a $67 million judgement against TD Bank in the first civil case involving the Scott Rothstein's billion-dollar fraud.

It took a jury just four hours to decide that the bank was complicit in the Ponzi scheme run by the now-imprisoned Rothstein and should have noticed the irregularities and stopped it before it grew to such mammoth proportions.

They awarded Coquina $32 million in compensatory damages and another $35 million in punitive damages.

“It was clear cut for us,” the jury forewoman, Shonda Smith, told Bloomberg News. “We were all surprised at how much stuff they allowed to go through, all the deposits and transfers. At any point, someone could have stopped it.”

TD Bank sent this written response to the verdict: "We are disappointed with the jury’s decision and are considering all of our options. We still maintain that we were Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler’s Bank, and that it was Scott Rothstein who defrauded investors.  We will continue to defend the Bank against claims of wrong doing."

Civil attorney Bill Scherer, who is also suing TD Bank and other defendants for $200 million on behalf of several Rothstein victims, had repeatedly said the trial, brought by Texas-based Coquina Investments, was the "canary in the coal mine" as to what to expect in other civil cases.

"The canary died," said Scherer after the verdict came down today.

Scherer pointed out that the jurors in the Coquina case didn't have benefit of the recent Rothstein deposition transcripts, in which he claimed he paid bank officers, including former VP Frank Spinosa, bribes in exchange for their help in pulling off his Ponzi scheme.

"It's not going to get any easier for TD Bank, that's for sure," said Scherer.