WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – A former associate of convicted Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein was sentenced Tuesday for her role in his $1.2 billion fraud.
Last February, a jury convicted attorney Cristina Kitterman on three counts of wire fraud.
During her hearing Tuesday, Kitterman was given 60 months in prison. She’ll have three years of supervised release and must pay a $300.00 special assessment.
During her trial, prosecutors told the juty Kitterman impersonated Florida Bar official Adria Quintela in 2009 during a phone call to investors at Rothstein’s request to keep his scam alive.
On the stand during her trial, Kitterman admitted pretending to be Quintela during the call, but denied any fraudulent intent. She told the jury she really thought she was helping him help the firm.
She also denied any knowledge of the billion dollar fraud.
Prosecutors said Kitterman was a willing participant in the scam. They also pointed to her addiction problems in the past.
Kitterman told the jury she was embarrassed by the drug addiction in the past and that Rothstein was very supportive when she returned to work. She said he even threatened to fire anyone at the firm who spoke negatively about her.
Kitterman’s testimony was in sharp contrast to that given by her former boss who was called to the stand by her attorney as a defense witness.
Kitterman’s attorney, Valentin Rodriguez Jr., called put Rothstein before the jury in hopes of showing them that he was a manipulative individual who had fooled Kitterman just like everyone else.
Rothstein, 51, spent hours answering questions about Kitterman’s activities at his firm and her alleged involvement in the Ponzi scam. Rothstein described Kitterman as a team player who willingly participated in the felonies she was accused of committing. He added that she was well aware of his involvement in many kinds of illegal activity.
However, Rothstein admitted that he did not tell her they were going to cheat anyone, he only asked her to lie.
Rothstein added that he has helped investigators get all of the money back to all the investors involved in the scheme.
Rothstein also testified he had an on again-off again a sexual relationship with Kitterman, a friends with benefits sort of arrangement.
“I loved her and cared about her and I believed she loved me and cared about me,” Rothstein testified.
Kitterman denied these claims during her time on the stand.
Rothstein is serving a 50-year prison sentence for his scam, which involved investments in phony legal settlements. He has agreed with prosecutors to testify in various legal matters in hopes of getting his sentence reduced.