- Associated Press - Friday, May 2, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A South Florida attorney has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by disbarred lawyer Scott Rothstein.

A federal judge on Thursday also ordered 55-year-old Douglas Bates of Parkland to pay a $20,000 fine. Bates had previously pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge.

The Rothstein Ponzi scheme involved investments in supposedly confidential legal settlements that did not actually exist. Bates admitted assisting Rothstein by claiming to investors that he represented others who had profited from the operation. Court papers also show Bates falsely told investors his law firm had referred cases to Rothstein for settlement.

More than a dozen other people have been convicted in the case. Rothstein himself is serving a 50-year prison sentence.