Federal Jury Finds a Miami Jeweler and His Family’s Jewelry Supply Company Not Guilty of Money Laundering
MIAMI – March 3, 2005 – After three weeks of trial, Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf partners Roy Black and Howard Srebnick left federal prosecutors stunned as a Miami jury found Rosenthal Jewelers Supply Corporation, its owner Raphael Adouth and sales manager Lourdes Challiol not guilty on all eight counts of money laundering. The prosecution charged that the company and its employees had knowingly accepted more than $8,000,000 in drug cash as payment for gold bullion.
Rosenthal Jewelers is one of the largest jewelry supply companies in the country, servicing customers in the southeast United States and Latin America. Its founder, Luis Rosenthal, was a Hungarian Jewish watchmaker who emigrated to Cuba in the 1920s and started the company by selling watch parts that he imported from Switzerland. After fleeing Castro’s regime in Cuba in the 1960s, he restarted the business in Miami with his son-in-law, Enrique. Grandson Raphael, former president of The Shul of Bal Harbor, took over the family business in 1987. The company, whose yearly sales have grown to $6 million, offers tens of thousands of products to watchmakers and jewelry manufacturers.
Due to having a large clientele of gold customers from Colombia who paid in cash, the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies targeted the company for three years, orchestrating a taped sting operation – dubbed by the government as “Goldstar” – in which an undercover agent and confidential informant posed as customers interested in buying gold.
The government’s case crumbled during Black’s textbook cross-examination of the undercover IRS agent, whose credibility was shattered by evidence that he was lying to the jury, that he and his fellow federal agents had used trickery and deceit to manipulate company employees, and that they knew that the confidential informant had targeted Raphael “the Jew.” Black and Srebnick hammered away at the IRS undercover agents’ callous display of dishonesty and disrespect for the law and the government’s shameful insensitivity in choosing “Goldstar” as the name of the sting operation targeting “the Jew,” reminding the jury of the movie “Schindler’s List,” the Academy Award winning portrayal of how the Nazis forced Jews to wear the gold star of David as they were herded into concentration camps for execution during the Holocaust.
In their closing arguments, Black and Srebnick highlighted that the third-generation family business had deposited every cash dollar in the bank, declared and paid all of its taxes, and rigorously complied with all of the IRS’ rules and regulations.
Miami attorney Jane Moscowitz represented Lourdes Challiol and Miami attorneys Mark Schnapp and Stephen Binhak were co-counsel for Rosenthal Jewelers Supply Corporation.
Black, one of the nation’s premier criminal defense and civil trial attorneys with more than 35 years of experience, has represented such high-profile clients as William Kennedy Smith and artist Peter Max. He was recently announced managing partner of “The Law Firm,” NBC’s alternative drama series that features real lawyers competing against each other while trying real court cases with judges and juries, resulting in outcomes that will be final, legal and binding. In addition, he currently serves as an NBC News legal analyst, appearing regularly on “The Today Show” and other NBC and MSNBC news programs. Black has also taught advanced criminal evidence at the University of Miami School of Law for more than 30 years, and is the author of “Black’s Law,” a book that recounts the strategies he employed to safeguard the freedom of four clients.
Srebnick, who is best known for his successful defense of N.F.L. Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Tony Martin in 1999 following a 3-week federal trial in Miami, is the youngest board member of the 10,000-member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the nation’s premier criminal defense organization. He is also the co-chair of NACDL’s Lawyer Assistance Strike Force, defending fellow lawyers facing subpoenas or sanctions in connection with their zealous advocacy. A mentor and role model for other aspiring criminal defense lawyers, Srebnick has readily accepted invitations to teach on lawyer ethics, trying criminal cases and briefing appeals. He also currently teaches “Situational Ethics in the Adversarial System of Justice” at the University of Miami School of Law.
Famous for its high-profile criminal defense and civil litigation work, Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, P.A., handles select criminal and civil matters throughout the United States. For further information on Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, P.A., see www.royblack.com. The firm’s office is at 201 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1300, Miami, FL 33131. Telephone: 305-371-6421; Fax: 305-358-2006.