Hot cars, boats and guitars

Alleged Ponzi schemer charged with fraud, authorities trying to recover expensive items purchased.

By Kim Peterson Dec 2, 2009 2:53PM
Scott Rothstein knows how to spend money.

The disbarred Florida lawyer, who pleaded not guilty to running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme, poured money into hot cars, mansions and luxury boats, prosecutors say.

He allegedly used the money he made to buy 23 properties from Florida to Manhattan as well as a white Lamborghini, a red Ferrari Spider and 304 pieces of jewelry. Officials are also trying to recover his collection of guitars and sports memorabilia.

What's striking about this alleged fraudster is how much he flaunted the money he is charged with scamming from clients. There's no modesty here.

The 47-year-old faces 100 years in prison if he is convicted, Bloomberg reports.

According to charges, Rothstein sold investors shares in the settlements of sexual harassment and whistleblower lawsuits. He allegedly forged letters and judge orders to convince clients that their money was safe and that rulings were coming down in their favor.

Now, the 70-member law firm that Rothstein co-founded is being dissolved. Rothstein was disbarred last month, and his attorney seems to have left open the possibility of pleading guilty to the charges. Right now, Rothstein is not cooperating with prosecutors, Bloomberg reports.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, here's an Oct. 30 text message that Rothstein sent his law partners after he fled to Morocco:

"Sorry for letting you all down. I am a fool. I thought I could fix it but got trapped by my ego and refusal to fail and now all I have accomplished is hurting the people I love. Please take care of yourselves and please protect Kimmie [Rothstein's wife]. She knew nothing. Neither did she nor any of you deserve what I did. I hope God allows me to see you on the other side. Love, Scott."


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