Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Miami, FL - Ponzi Schemer Scott Rothstein Gets 50-year Sentence

Published on: June 9, 2010 12:51 PM
By: AP
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Scott RothsteinScott Rothstein

Miami, FL -  Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein, whose seemingly unlimited wealth bought palatial homes, exotic cars and mega-yachts, was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison for operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme using faked legal settlements.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn was below the 100-year maximum Rothstein faced for five felony convictions, including racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud.

Rothstein, who turns 48 on Thursday, had hoped for a 30-year sentence because of his extensive cooperation with investigators — and prosecutors could later ask for up to one-third off his sentence because of continued assistance.

Cohn agreed that Rothstein deserved credit for his cooperation but was particularly troubled that the former lawyer would use the judicial system for his scam, to the point of forging signatures of at least three federal judges on fake documents.

“These actions constitute the most egregious wrongs a licensed attorney can commit,” Cohn said, adding that Rothstein’s “opulent lifestyle” was designed to advance the scheme by projecting an image of success.

“It was all about image, wealth, power and influence,” the judge said.

The prison sentence, 10 years more than prosecutors recommended, caps a swift downfall for Rothstein, whose now-defunct law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler was once considered a rising force in South Florida legal circles.

His taste in fancy Italian sports cars, an 87-foot custom yacht, glittering watches and big cigars made him seem to be a larger-than-life character made him a darling of politicians and sports stars. In fact, Rothstein told the judge in a letter, it was all a facade to feed his own “ego and greed.”

“I did all I could to increase my power, to keep the myth alive, to feed the beast I had created, and to try to keep myself above the law,” Rothstein wrote.

In a brief statement Wednesday in court, a much more subdued and visibly thinner Rothstein apologized and insisted he will do “everything in my power” to help investors recoup an estimated $429 million in losses. As he spoke, Rothstein’s wife, Kim, sat in the court audence staring at her husband and dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. Kim Rothstein has not been implicated in the scheme.

“I don’t expect your forgiveness,” Rothstein said, turning and addressing the packed courtroom directly.

U.S. Attorney Willy Ferrer called the Rothstein case a “rags-to-riches-to-jail saga” and said he abused the trust of nearly everyone he had contact with.

“Today’s sentence punishes the defendant for his thievery, and hopefully brings some sense of justice to the victims of this massive fraud,” Ferrer said.

The Ponzi scheme involved attracting investors with fat interest rates from the sale of confidential legal settlements that were nothing but fiction, as well as fake bank statements showing money in accounts that didn’t exist. Money from new investors was used to pay off older ones, until the scam collapsed in late October.

With the illusion of prosperity, Rothstein drew the interest of politicians including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, to whom he contributed thousands of dollars that have since been returned, and national figures ranging from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rothstein’s office was covered in photos of him with politicians and prominent sports stars, such as ex-Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. Off-duty city police officers guarded his home.

The scam operated from 2005 until October 2009, when Rothstein said in the letter he considered suicide and then opted to flee to Morocco after wiring $16 million to an account there. Ultimately, he decided to return to Florida and face the consequences — and also secretly agreed to help the FBI in several undercover investigations, including that of a suspected Mafia figure now jailed and awaiting trial.

Rothstein pleaded guilty Jan. 27, surrendered his law license and agreed to forfeit all assets.

Prosecutors gave Rothstein credit for returning voluntarily from Morocco — a country with no U.S. extradition treaty — and assisting with the Ponzi scheme probe and other investigations. But they also said Rothstein could not get off lightly for sullying the legal profession, giving charities stolen money that in many cases had to be returned and causing the implosion of a once-thriving law firm.

The government has seized Rothstein’s assets and is in the process of selling them to pay restitution to victims. There is also an ongoing legal wrestling match over ownership of some of the assets and bank accounts linked to the scam and Rothstein’s law firm.


More of today's headlines

New York, NY - "Cloned" debit cards have been used to steal more than $200,000 from Long Island banks between April and the end of May, police said. The scam involves... Prague, Czech Republic - Dozens of nations announced Wednesday that they would try harder to return real estate stolen by the Nazis, opening archives and processing...

 

Total29

Read Comments (29)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:02 PM MazelKGH Says:

So, am I supposed to feel good about this or feel sorry for him? I can never seem to get it "right" lately.

2

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:08 PM Paskunyak Says:

You Play - You Pay. Now if the govt could start concentrating on protecting Americans from terrorism, drugs, murder and other crimes against its citizens, as govt. is supposed to do, we can all breath easier.

3

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Now this is the result of facing cosequences, he should of stayed in Morroco and not ever face these charges. FIFTY years for a guy old 50 is life sentence. Wow he didnt get 150 years its the same. Not that i think he is not guilty or a good man, but it shows a lesson to all others, better run and never ever fall in to hands of USA prsecution.

4

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:15 PM Guarantee Says:

Does that mean that he has a 98 year life expectancy guaranteed by the US government?

5

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:16 PM Anonymous Says:

The latest member in an exclusive club : the Ponzis .( minimum incarceration 50 years ) .

6

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Ganev!! Ganev!! Ganev!!
He was such convincing idiot.
He baganved alot of heimishe people that did do their due diligence.
If you read the article, he signed judges names to documents and so forth to
assure people that they could invest with him.

7

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:40 PM Anon Says:

Pidyon shvuyim!! If it works for people like Martin Grossman, why isn't anyone making a tumult about this crook!

8

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:43 PM yosse nathan Says:

in a way this can be good news for shalom rubashkin. as this story shows the judge can add and subtract years in prison based on the governments own recommendations . therefore since rubashkin won the under age worker case , that should hopefully show the judge by sentencing time that rubashkin is a much better person then what he is made out to be

9

 Jun 09, 2010 at 01:56 PM 5T lawyer Says:

this proves the rubaskind trial and its prologue

10

 Jun 09, 2010 at 02:06 PM Anonymous Says:

He was a real mechalel shabbos, teifes and on and on......................
No rachmunes on him AND PLEASE DONT START THE PIDYON SHVIYIM. If you really want to do a miytzva, collect money to pay back the poor guys he robbed. At least the frum guys.

11

 Jun 09, 2010 at 02:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Two thoughts come to mind!
1, This is a time for Jews not to be in criminal courts. When Judge exceeds the prosecutors request it is significant.
2, You play-you pay. No argument or real rachmonus here. before any comments lecture me think of the victims.

12

 Jun 09, 2010 at 02:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

He was a real mechalel shabbos, teifes and on and on......................
No rachmunes on him AND PLEASE DONT START THE PIDYON SHVIYIM. If you really want to do a miytzva, collect money to pay back the poor guys he robbed. At least the frum guys.

dont worry about the 'poor guys'- he robbed rich guys. the same rich guys who never told you when they made money on investments and the same rich guys that are not on the blogs now but are on to the next investment.

13

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:11 PM 5T cpa Says:

I believe that now is the time, if ever, for Pidyan Schvooyin. This gentleman was a lawyer; he needs our help and we must be there for him. He has lost his parnasah and what if his family needs a calah l'hachnaset...this is not good.

14

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:40 PM reba Says:

Chabad should never have put the name of Rothstein, an intermarried man on the front of the Ft. Lauderdale shul.

15

 Jun 09, 2010 at 03:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Ganev!! Ganev!! Ganev!!
He was such convincing idiot.
He baganved alot of heimishe people that did do their due diligence.
If you read the article, he signed judges names to documents and so forth to
assure people that they could invest with him.

True he baganved lots of heimishe people. But alot of heimishe people were assured by heimishe lawyers that they did do their due diligence and check if the cases even existed. Its very easy to verify status of a case. Can be done online. I suspect that the heimishe chevra sending money to Rothstein had some incentive to do so. Perhaps a commision of some sort, otherwise why would they be going around soliciting money to this ganev. I dont think leshem mitzva.
They have alot to be blamed for. People think if a lawyer says its ok, then it must be so. I beg to differ, a good percentage are crooks and should be disbarred, they do genaiva under the guise that theyre lawyers. Doesnt matter if he wears a fancy bow tie and a mizrech vaant shayne yid, or if hes honored by a maised. He could be the nicest sweet talking pleasent guy, but theyre a bunch of ganuvim. Dont be fooled by these liars (oops, sorry i meant lawyers) aleh vert dus gelt.

16

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:19 PM Anon Says:

Starting the pidyon shvuim campaign - just send me the $$$ and I'll take care of it

17

 Jun 09, 2010 at 04:50 PM Anonymous Says:

#15....you have important information...please provide us with the names of those lawyers who did not do due diligence...it is very important for the himishe cummuity.

18

 Jun 09, 2010 at 06:34 PM Lesson # to be learned from this Says:

Lesson #2
Every Goy hates every yid regardless if he is Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not. And it's time for our unconditional love for every yid regardless, too.

Hitler Killed every yid alike, regardless if he was Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not.

The Palestinian Murderers and terrorists TODAY, will murder and bomb every yid regardless if he is Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not and Regardless if he is a Satmar_Anti_Zionists, a Niturey Karta or Zionist Jew - all 100% alike to every goy.

In our Judicial system EVERY SINGLE YID in the entire USA that was ever charged and convicted of any crime is ALWAYS sentence FAR MORE SEVERELY, than almost any other Goy, for an equal crime.

The above is a statistical fact.

A Goy who Murders in cold blood, only gets 25 Years and is most often eligible to get out much earlier on "good behavior. But a Yid who steals money gets 50 Years (especialy if he cooperated with the feds and was even willing to be a MOSER for them too)?

19

 Jun 09, 2010 at 06:41 PM cocoaman Says:

Reply to #14  
reba Says:

Chabad should never have put the name of Rothstein, an intermarried man on the front of the Ft. Lauderdale shul.

ok,so he intermarried.does that make a lesser jew? shud chabad also have turned him away from services and minyan?he still has a neshama and besides after the exposure of his scheme,i tthink his name was taken down.a yid will remain yid no matter who he marries and what he does.that is obviousky something chabad undsertand and u dont.

20

 Jun 09, 2010 at 08:18 PM Is pleading guilty a "smart move"? Says:

Unfortunately (frum and non-frum) people are accused of crimes all the time.

Sometimes they are truly guilty and sometimes they are not (only wrongly accused) but regardless of their real and actual guilt or innocence, prosecutors always want to make a deal, if the accused agrees to plead guilty and it's always up to the accused to consider if it's worth it, to make such a deal and if the government can be trusteed to keep their end of the bargain or not.

In this case:

What did he gain by pleading guilty?

What did he gain by "cooperating"

If he is around 50 years old now, he is as good as dead in 50 years from now, so did he gain anything by them not giving him a sentence of 150 years? Or was he foolish for having agreed to pleading guilty?

It boils down to the question of can we trust the government to make such deals or is the government likely to bite the hand that feeds it, if the accused is a Jew?

21

 Jun 09, 2010 at 08:41 PM Anonymous Says:

I dont understand a life sentence for forging signatures and theft. Can someone explain? Drug dealers and rapists get out after 6 or 7 years but forging signatures and stealing money is life in a cage?

I dont understand the logic. It stems from jealousy (how dare someone want nice cars and houses) and self righteousness. Welcome to America.

22

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Lesson # to be learned from this Says:

Lesson #2
Every Goy hates every yid regardless if he is Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not. And it's time for our unconditional love for every yid regardless, too.

Hitler Killed every yid alike, regardless if he was Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not.

The Palestinian Murderers and terrorists TODAY, will murder and bomb every yid regardless if he is Shomer Torah Umitzvos or not and Regardless if he is a Satmar_Anti_Zionists, a Niturey Karta or Zionist Jew - all 100% alike to every goy.

In our Judicial system EVERY SINGLE YID in the entire USA that was ever charged and convicted of any crime is ALWAYS sentence FAR MORE SEVERELY, than almost any other Goy, for an equal crime.

The above is a statistical fact.

A Goy who Murders in cold blood, only gets 25 Years and is most often eligible to get out much earlier on "good behavior. But a Yid who steals money gets 50 Years (especialy if he cooperated with the feds and was even willing to be a MOSER for them too)?

"The above is a statistical fact." Really? Can you please provide any evidence to your "statistical fact?"

"A Goy who Murders in cold blood, only gets 25 Years and is most often eligible to get out much earlier on "good behavior. But a Yid who steals money gets 50 Years (especialy if he cooperated with the feds and was even willing to be a MOSER for them too)? ” I don't agree that this is the case in general. There will always be exceptions. However, perhaps Jews are supposed to represent a higher moral and ethical standard. Tzaddikim are punished much more severely for the same level of cheit than resha'im. It therefore stands to reason that Jews are punished by Hashem (through His agents, the courts) more severely than goyim.

23

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:18 PM Eli Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

I dont understand a life sentence for forging signatures and theft. Can someone explain? Drug dealers and rapists get out after 6 or 7 years but forging signatures and stealing money is life in a cage?

I dont understand the logic. It stems from jealousy (how dare someone want nice cars and houses) and self righteousness. Welcome to America.

Are you aware that chamas = stealing was one of the major causes of the mabul? Stealing is that bad according to the Torah. Thou shalt not deal drugs is not one of the 10 commandments; stealing IS. So actually America DOES have its priorities straight.

24

 Jun 09, 2010 at 09:37 PM Anonymous Says:

I'm very conservative.. But I think that the USA should follow Europe when it come to white collar crime..
If u steal from the government or from anyone, U PAY BACK !! What's the point of throwing him in jail?? Let him rather be a slave for the rest of his life to pay back to all his victims..
If you want to add $$ as a punishment fine! But why throw away the person for 25 - 50 years??????

25

 Jun 09, 2010 at 10:49 PM Disgusted Says:

It is disgusting to be a jew in todays modern era as it is evident that it is a cult and a big joke. We must warn people not to convert to this joke. Take a look at their 'rabbis' and you will see it is one big cult!

26

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

#15....you have important information...please provide us with the names of those lawyers who did not do due diligence...it is very important for the himishe cummuity.

Vehamaivin yuvin. How does a lawyer not confirm that a case actually exists or doesnt exist? How difficult is that? Every case has a docket number. Every case has a status update, last hearing date...etc. Maybe I'm wrong, its just my common sense telling me. Perhaps some professional liar / lawyer can enlighten us of what the reality is. Doesn't really make a difference, but what drove all this heimishe money to this guy? What was the incentive? Is it like an IPO? Where the new money pays for the first money to get out? What is known as PUMP AND DUMP. I don't know just thinking out loud.

27

 Jun 09, 2010 at 11:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Eli Says:

Are you aware that chamas = stealing was one of the major causes of the mabul? Stealing is that bad according to the Torah. Thou shalt not deal drugs is not one of the 10 commandments; stealing IS. So actually America DOES have its priorities straight.

"Thou Shalt Not Steal" in the 10 commandments refers to Kidnapping. Read the commentaries.

Gosh, everyone who's ever heard a bible verse becomes a full fledged posek on the internet!

28

 Jun 10, 2010 at 12:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

I dont understand a life sentence for forging signatures and theft. Can someone explain? Drug dealers and rapists get out after 6 or 7 years but forging signatures and stealing money is life in a cage?

I dont understand the logic. It stems from jealousy (how dare someone want nice cars and houses) and self righteousness. Welcome to America.

Our entire system and way of life is dependent on our financial system. The whole thing is based on trust. As bad as a murder or other crimes are, they do not effect the entire way of life. They are heinous crimes and the effect is just on the victim and the victim's family (by no means do I think it isn't horrible). If people lost faith in the financial system because people stealing millions or billions got a year or two or time served, no one would invest our entire society would collapse.

29

 Jun 10, 2010 at 08:25 AM philospher Says:

judge was stupid to add 10 years over prosecution's recommendation of 30 yrs. rothstein was cooperating, and as a result some really big fish were convicted as a result of rothstein's cooperation. rothstein was in moracco at the time the gov't was seeking to arrest him and had enough cash on him to last him the rest of his life in luxury. there is no extradition treaty between the usa & morracco. he came back on his own free will.
i believe other criminals will stop cooperating with the gov't when they see that their cooperation means nothing to the judge. also, i doubt rothstein will continue cooperating now that the govt's sentencing recommendation (deal) wasnt upheld by judge. there's alot of money missing, and the victims need rothstein's cooperation.
im not saying rothstein doesnt deserve the punishment, rather it is a foolish precedent that will deter other criminals from cooperating. 30 yrs is still a VERY long time even with parole.

30

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!