Former Scott Rothstein law partner Steven Lippman, shown above with the Ponzi schemer, has been charged with conspiracy to break federal election laws, commit bank fraud, and defraud the IRS.
Lippman is the ninth person charged in the billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The 49-year-old Lippman, of Plantation, was illegally reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions made to John McCain's presidential campaign, prosecutors allege.
"In one instance, Lippman made a $67,800 contribution to McCain-Palin Victory 2008. Lippman, in turn, received a check from RRA in the amount of $77,500, which constituted reimbursement of the funds he used to make the contribution," according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The check was fraudulently backdated to reflect that it was issued six days prior to the date of the actual contribution and the memo section of the check stated "'bonus.'"
The feds also allege Lippman engaged in a bank fraud scheme with Rothstein involving check-kiting from a law firm account known as the "LVS account."
"RRA was experiencing financial difficulties and required a source of funds to maintain the law firm's operations," according to the release. "Lippman maintained a bank account from a prior law firm where he had been a partner ... around February 2006, co-conspirator Rothstein requested that Lippman ... float checks between and among certain bank accounts maintained by RRA, a practice commonly known as 'check kiting.' By simultaneously issuing and depositing checks between the LVS account and the RRA accounts, co-conspirator Rothstein and defendant Lippman would artificially inflate posted balances in each of the checking accounts, which allowed them to unlawfully obtain beneficial financing for RRA from financial institutions during the 'float' period, i.e., the time that it took for the checks to clear.
"For example, the Information alleges that from February 2006 through February 2008, Lippman issued checks in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $400,000, totaling approximately $10,311,688, from the LVS account. At the time many of the checks were written, there were insufficient funds in the account of LVS to cover those checks. Defendant Lippman also deposited into the LVS account checks issued from RRA accounts in amounts ranging from $37,500 to $330,000, totaling approximately $10,664,987. Lippman and other co-conspirators engaged in this fraudulent conduct to create the appearance that RRA was an affluent and successful law firm and to gain additional time to meet the financial obligations of RRA."
The feds also allege Lippman defrauded the IRS.
"Lippman and co-conspirator Rothstein agreed that Lippman would be paid a base salary and be given an expense account for which he would be fraudulently reimbursed for personal expenditures disguised as deductible business expenses," the feds wrote. "This was done so that Lippman and RRA could avoid paying additional federal income and employment taxes. In addition, Lippman was paid from both the operating account and the payroll account of RRA, but would only receive an IRS Form W-2 reflecting the moneys paid to him through the payroll account. Lippman would not report to the Internal Revenue Service the moneys paid to him by RRA for expenses."