An assistant US attorney in the Southern District of Florida for the past five years, Elina Rubin-Smith joined the criminal fraud section’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit as a trial lawyer on 14 May 2018.
Rubin-Smith was immediately assigned to the prosecution of Joseph Baptiste, a former US army colonel who was indicted in October 2017. Baptiste has been accused of violating the FCPA and soliciting bribes from undercover FBI agents who posed as potential investors in a Haitian infrastructure project. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin in October in a Massachusetts federal court.
While at the Miami US attorney’s office, Rubin-Smith prosecuted fraud, identity theft, human trafficking and drug offences. Several cases that she prosecuted relating to prostitution rings gained local media attention, including a case with a peculiar link to a scandal at a Fort-Lauderdale law firm.
The case involved the prosecution of four defendants who pleaded guilty in 2015 to money laundering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate trafficking of prostitutes. US prosecutors accused the defendants of having various roles in operating an escort agency in Fort Lauderdale that recruited women from Eastern Europe for prostitution in the US.
The case made headlines when it was reported that one of the defendants, Christian Fiorenza, hoped for a lenient sentence in exchange for providing information to prosecutors about a prominent lawyer’s entanglement with a prostitute. The former partner at the defunct law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler who has since been disbarred, Stuart Rosenfeldt, admitted to enlisting police officers to intimidate the prostitute who was threatening to expose their relationship.
The firm was also embroiled in scandal when its chairman, Scott Rothstein, pleaded guilty to orchestrating a massive $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme that imploded in 2009. He was accused of using the scheme to fund his lifestyle and the firm’s salaries, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Another defendant prosecuted by Rubin-Smith, Arthy Icart, was sentenced to almost six years in jail in 2013 for participating in a $3.3 million stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme. Icart had pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to file fraudulent claims, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. US prosecutors accused Icart of filing tax returns using stolen identification information, some of which was taken from a community college, to fabricate tax documents.
Rubin-Smith was in private practice for almost two years as an associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, from 2010 to 2012. She also clerked for District Judge Donald Middlebrooks in the Southern District of Florida for a year from 2009. In 2008, Rubin-Smith was an international law clerk to Justice Eliezer Rivlin at the Supreme Court of Israel.
She earned her law degree at New York University from 2005 to 2008, and attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science.