Michael Rothenberg can’t catch a break around election time

In 201o, Michael Rothenberg was in a runoff for DeKalb Superior Court when a lawsuit was filed against him alleging he defrauded investors and that some of the money went into his judicial campaign.

Now, two weeks before the election in which Rothenberg is seeking to displace incumbent Superior Court Judge Gail Flake, Rothenberg has been indicted for six counts of felony theft arising from the same transaction.

DeKalb County judicial candidate Michael Rothenberg was indicted Tuesday for diverting more than $400,000 in investment money for personal use, including meals, massages and campaign finances.

Rothenberg is running to unseat Superior Court Judge Gail Flake in the non-partisan race to be decided July 31. A DeKalb grand jury formally charged Rothenberg with six felony counts of theft by taking.

“I’m shocked,” Rothenberg, 34, said Tuesday. “I’m talking to my representatives to see what to do next.”

DeKalb District Attorney Robert James said the charges stem from money collected by Rothenberg’s investment firm, Four Five LLC.

Court records say the company traded sophisticated international bank instruments and offered risk-free returns of 300 percent every 14 days. The firm also said the majority of the investment money would remain in Rothenberg’s attorney trust account.

Instead, James said, Rothenberg diverted $440,000 to his own use, including his campaign.

“He would frequent local DeKalb County spots such as Farm Burger, J. Christopher’s and Walmart on other people’s dimes,” James said. “This isn’t just a clear violation of the law, but also a violation of the trust of the investors of this development corporation.”

And as for the timing?

James added that the timing of the indictment had nothing to do with the upcoming election.

“I was looking at it before he was a candidate,” he said. “This is just us doing our job. We’ve been working on this for quite some time.”

Michael Rothenberg just can’t catch a break in election season.

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