When Scott Rothstein was running his billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, he claimed he was making his money legitimately through business investments.
And one key business Rothstein believed might someday make enough money to rescue him from his all-consuming criminal enterprise was a technology firm called Qtask.
Rothstein put $7.5 million into the software company, which is owned by Reichart Von Wolfsheild, a computer software designer who created the once-popular Goldfish Aquarium screensaver and is co-host of a show on the History Channel called Invention USA. After the Ponzi exploded, Rothstein bankruptcy lawyers sued Qtask and Wolfsheild to try to get that money back for fraud victims.
Now the bankruptcy court is alleging that Von Wolfsheild has defrauded the court and violated a settlement agreement to turn over the assets of the company, including its software, to fraud victims.
Instead of turning over the Qtask assets, bankruptcy trustee Herb Stettin is alleging in court papers that Von Wolfsheild is funneling those assets to a new company.
"[Von Wolfsheild] and Qtask did nothing but delay, ask questions, and refuse to transfer assets," bankruptcy attorney Chuck Lichtman wrote in the recent motion. "... The Trustee became aware that Qtask and [Von Wolfsheild] intentionally diverted and appropriated Qtask assets and intellectual property to a new entity controlled by" Von Wolfsheild.
Bankruptcy lawyer Chuck Lichtman cites a new website owned by Von Wolfsheild, Prolific.com, where Von Wolfsheild encourages customers of Qtask to transfer their accounts to Prolific.
"Yes, there have been some changes," the website advised customers. "In a nutshell, the Qtask team
has moved over to a new company, and as promised, ensured your data is safe and secure.
"Everything is exactly the same," the website further assures Qtask users. "In fact, you can even use old links from the old service name, and simply swap it out."
The trustee claims Von Wolfsheild has breached the settlement and defrauded the Rothstein estate in the process. "As a result of the foregoing breaches of the Settlement, the Trustee, has suffered immediate and irreparable harm and will continue to suffer irreparable harm unless [Von Woflsheild] is not enjoined from further transferring any Qtask Users or Qtask Data from Qtask onto Prolific," wrote Lichtman.
Von Wolfsheild attorney Bart Houston says his client has done nothing wrong. He says the Qtask software has always been "open source," meaning it's available to anyone who wants to use it for free, including Von Wolfsheild.
"Anybody on the planet can go access it," said Houston. "These guys [the bankruptcy attorneys] just won't go away. He's getting abused and the system is getting abused and I'm fed up with it."