A Florida man who previously served prison time for soliciting investors for Lou Pearlman's massive $300 million Ponzi scheme has found himself again in trouble with the law after surveillance video showed him drowning a rabbit in a hotel pool. Steven B. Rodd, 49, was arrested by Tampa police after he was observed tossing a rabbit into a hotel pool and watching it drown. If convicted, Rodd could face up to five years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Rodd has a long history of being implicated in Florida Ponzi schemes. During 1999, Rodd and others solicited investors for LinkTel Communications, Inc. ("LinkTel"), which promised investors annual returns ranging from 12% to 14% through a payphone leaseback venture. The Securities and Exchange Commission later accused LinkTel of being a large Ponzi scheme that raised over $6 million from several hundred investors. Rodd was later charged by the Commission with violating securities laws in connection with his role with LinkTel and agreed to be permanently barred from the securities industry. According to the St. Petersburg times, Rodd was associated with at least six fraudulent schemes.
However, LinkTel paled in comparison to the massive $300 million Ponzi scheme run by former boy band mogul Lou Pearlman that unraveled in early 2007. Rodd, along with others, solicited investors for the Employee Investment Savings Account (EISA), which was represented as an investment by Pearlman-owned Transcontinental Airlines. An EISA investment promised annual returns exceeding 6% and targeted retirees and elderly investors by falsely claiming that the investment was FDIC-insured and that he did not receive sales commissions. In total, Rodd sold over $32 million in EISA investments to hundreds of Florida investors. The investments later turned out to be worthless when Pearlman's scheme collapsed, and a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee has returned just pennies on the dollar to scammed victims.