Dunwoody attorney Michael Rothenberg was sentenced Friday for defrauding investors and using their money to fund his political campaign for a seat on the DeKalb County Superior Court.
“This defendant committed fraud at the very time that he was asking the voters of DeKalb County to trust him,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in a statement. “Now he will spend time in federal prison.”
Rothenberg, 36, was convicted last September and pleaded guilty.
According to Yates, Rothenberg deceitfully persuaded the owners of WinterHawk Energy and Development Corporation to invest $1.35 million. Rothenberg told them the money would be placed in a trust account, controlled by him, which would be used to fund the trading of notes by large financial institutions.
These notes, according to Rothenberg, would be split into “tranches,” and a 10 percent profit would be earned each time a note or “tranch” was traded. Rothenberg told the investors that the investment involved no risk.
No investment actually existed and Rothenberg used the money to fund his political campaign for a seat on the DeKalb County Superior Court, and personal expenses, the media statement said.
He ultimately was unsuccessful in his bid for a judgeship.
During the scheme, Rothenberg emailed investors fabricated bank statements.
From time to time Rothenberg returned some of the money to the investors in response to their demands, and claimed falsely that he was making up for the shortfall by personally investing his own money.
Yates' press statement continues: But Rothenberg did not invest his own money, and in fact spent the remaining proceeds – approximately $800,000 – without the investors’ knowledge or consent.
United States District Judge Steve C. Jones sentenced Rothenberg to three years, five months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $800,000.