- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A Broward County lawyer has become the 16th person convicted in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by former attorney Scott Rothstein.

Douglas Bates of Parkland pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to one count of wire fraud conspiracy. He faces up to five years in prison at sentencing in May.

Court documents show Bates admitted drafting letters in which he claimed to represent investors in Rothstein’s supposedly confidential legal settlements, which did not exist. The letters were used by Rothstein to influence other investors into putting money into the scheme. In fact, Bates represented no such investors and the letters were fake.

Rothstein operated the scam out of his now-defunct Fort Lauderdale law firm. He is serving a 50-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to several charges.

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