Follow The Money
Fort Lauderdale’s Holy Cross Hospital returned the tainted donation from Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence for running a $1.2 billion settlement financing scheme. Federal marshals hired Tolz in April to hold the money until a final order of forfeiture was signed by the judge in Rothstein’s criminal case. Holy Cross wired the $1 million to the Marika Tolz General Trust Account at First Citizens Bank & Trust in Hollywood on May 20 for a total balance of $1,000,390. The next day, the account balance was $133,300, according to an exhibit attached to the federal lawsuit seeking $967,856 plus court costs and attorney fees. The Rothstein money was moved to a Bank of America account for the personal bankruptcy of James P. Driscoll of Fort Lauderdale, according to the adversary complaint. "Upon discovery of the withdrawal of the diverted funds from the First Citizens account, the marshals made demand upon Tolz to remit the sum of $1 million wire transferred," the lawsuit stated. "Tolz failed to turn over the funds to the marshals." The federal government ended up suing Furr as Tolz’s successor in the Driscoll case. The Boca Raton trustee filed a 74-page third-party complaint Thursday against Tolz and Liberty Mutual Insurance, which issued bonds on behalf of U.S. trustee panelists on condition of "faithful performance." Panelists for the U.S. trustee’s office are appointed on a rotating basis as caretakers for commercial and personal bankruptcies in federal court. Tolz was one of 12 panelists until she was forced to resign in May when Driscoll’s case came to the attention of the office. The U.S. trustee’s office did not comment on the matter. Furr, in his complaint against Tolz, seeks $1.5 million allegedly misappropriated from Driscoll and more than $76,900 in fees paid to her. He alleges Tolz filed a false accounting in Driscoll’s case March 31, stating the estate had $888,000, when in fact the account was barren. When confronted with the discrepancy by the U.S. trustee’s office, Tolz listed a nonexistent account at Sun American Bank and fake accounts to support her filing, Furr alleges. Furr, who inherited about 10 of Tolz’s cases, details a busy shell game as Tolz moved money to and from several accounts to hide her trail, culminating in the transfer of Rothstein money into Driscoll’s account. Furr’s lawsuit claims Tolz took $1 million from the Driscoll account and deposited it into her general trust account in April 2009. Tolz "accounted for" the money by creating fake receipts and disbursement records for the purchase of high-yield certificates of deposit at Bank of America, the lawsuit stated. The trustee’s office later determined the account did not exist. On May 18, the day before Tolz resigned from the trustee’s panel, she issued a $967,856 check from her personal trust account to the Driscoll case. On May 20, she covered it with money from the Rothstein case, according Furr’s lawsuit. Furr also alleges Tolz illegally transferred $500,000 from Driscoll’s account to her personal account in April 2008, taking investigators further back in time. Financial irregularities also have been documented in numerous other cases. Heller took over receiverships of two financially troubled Miami-Dade commercial properties from Tolz: Douglas Centre REB-GEM, owner of a share of a Coral Gables office complex, and Monticello 856, a condominium conversion. Heller’s Miami forensic accounting firm, Pontis Advisors, found $856,000 in checks from Douglas Centre REB-GEM had been deposited in outside accounts controlled by Tolz and that $456,000 could not be traced. Drew M. Dillworth, who succeeded Tolz in the bankruptcy case of Wilkinson Hi-Rise, a Hollywood trash and linen chute manufacturer, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Olson in September that Tolz should not be immediately paid her $13,000 fee because of "questionable financial transactions."
‘Over Her Head’
Then there is the Fuzion bankruptcy case, which allegedly received $715,000 meant as an inheritance for the children of man whose probate assets were administered by Tolz. The children’s new trustee claimed in court documents that the estate was $965,000 short due to diversions by Tolz. Two adversary lawsuits trying to retrieve money have been filed in the Fuzion matter, one by Heller and one by the successor trustee in the probate case. Heller said Tolz represented "the old school" of receivers and trustees, who intermingled money among accounts — even for personal use. The drama surrounding Tolz has drawn comparisons to former Miami attorney-accountant Lewis Freeman, sentenced earlier this year to more than 10 years for stealing $2.6 million and misappropriating at least $6 million from accounts he oversaw as a court-appointed receiver and trustee. Like Freeman, Tolz was considered one of the best. "Tolz was a very respected individual," Heller said. "She got in over her head."